RICHMOND, Va., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirty-three thousand elementary school students in six states are participating this year in Dominion's Project Plant It!, the environmental education program developed by Dominion to teach the next generation of tree-planters about the benefits of trees to our ecosystem. The program culminates with outdoor celebrations and tree-planting events throughout the week of Arbor Day, April 21-25, at many of the participating schools.
Project Plant It! (view YouTube video) connects students to the environment in a fun and interactive way with nature-based lessons and activities for use in the classroom and outdoors. Along with the education program, each participating student receives a free tree seedling – a spring-flowering redbud this year.
The program is funded by Dominion Resources, parent company of Dominion Virginia Power. Two longtime partners with Dominion are the national Arbor Day Foundation and the Virginia Department of Forestry.
"Dominion created Project Plant It! in 2007 and it has really taken root in the areas where we conduct business," said Robert M. Blue, president-Dominion Virginia Power. "The program is a contributing reason to why Dominion Virginia Power has been named a Tree Line USA utility for the past 3 consecutive years." The award is given to utilities whose forestry practices protect and enhance America's urban forests.
This spring, more than 33,000 students in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut will bring home a redbud tree seedling in a recyclable container with instructions for indoor and outdoor planting.
This year Jo McElwain, a representative from the Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska, will visit the Richmond region to assist with tree-planting events at several schools during the week of Arbor Day.
"Each and every year, Project Plant It! continues to effectively engage students by connecting them with nature," said McElwain. "Project Plant It! puts Eastern Redbud trees into the hands of the next generation of tree-planters who will always cherish the memory of planting a tree and watching it grow."
The Eastern Redbud produces spectacular spring blossoms and its seeds provide winter food for birds. It can be used for nesting sites and nesting materials and provides shelter for birds and mammals alike. The redbud provides good shade when planted near patios and is an excellent tree for planting near utility lines.
The Arbor Day Foundation, which inspires people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees, is responsible for planting, growing, packaging and shipping the more than 250,000 tree seedlings that Project Plant It! has distributed to students over the years. According to experts from the Virginia Department of Forestry, about 625 acres of new forest will be created if all of these seedlings grow to maturity.
Dominion and its 20-member forestry team will be involved in several tree-planting ceremonies across Virginia to help students celebrate Arbor Day, including the following locations:
- Woodville Elementary School in Richmond, April 22
- Clark Elementary School in Charlottesville, April 23
- Randolph Elementary School in Goochland County, April 24
- Petersburg Public Schools at Lee Memorial Park in Petersburg, April 25
- Mason Crest Elementary School in Fairfax County, April 25
Through online, classroom and outdoor activities, Project Plant It! teaches students about the benefits of trees to the ecosystem, such as providing shade and oxygen, sheltering birds, insects and animals, and preventing soil erosion. Project Plant It! is a free community program offered to school systems within the company's service areas.
Dominion, headquartered in Richmond, is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy. The Dominion Foundation is dedicated to improving the physical, social and economic well-being of the communities served by Dominion companies. Dominion and the Foundation support nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education and encourage community vitality. For more information about Dominion and the Dominion Foundation, visit www.dom.com.
NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information, including photos and video downloads, visit www.projectplantit.com or find us on Facebook.
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140421/76797
For further information: Janell Hancock, 804-771-6115, Janell.M.Hancock@dom.com, or Charles Penn, 703-796-9308, Charles.Penn@dom.com, or Bonita Harris, 757-857-2700, Bonita.B.Harris@dom.com