Get some shade for your playground

Get some shade for your playground
Van Buren 2019: Selected schools receive five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies and planting guidelines (Source: Arkansas Agriculture Department via Brett Dawson)

(KAIT) - Area schools now have the opportunity to do something to provide a little shade on the playground.

The Arkansas Agriculture’s Forestry Commission is accepting applications for the Shade Trees on Playgrounds program, or STOP.

Selected schools will receive five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies and planting guidelines.

Officials with the AFC will help plant the trees, during a ceremony with students in the fall.

The STOP program was started 16 years ago by the urban forestry staff to help lower adult skin cancer by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight on school playgrounds.

Since its creation, more than 100 Arkansas schools have received trees. The program also provides teachers will curriculum about the environmental benefits of trees, how shade reduces the risk of skin cancer and tips for keeping trees healthy.

Trees are chosen by the AFC staff to fit the region and conditions of each selected school.

To participate in the program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Lack shade on a school playground
  • Participate in a STOP workshop to be held in Little Rock on September 9
  • Use provided curriculum materials to emphasize the importance of trees during the week leading up to the tree planting event
  • Involve students in tree-related projects that culminate with a tree planting ceremony
  • Hold a tree planting ceremony prior to November 15, 2019
  • Be willing to maintain the trees after planting

The commission is accepting applications through May 3.

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