First grade collects 1000+ tree seeds for Belvedere’s new seedling nursery

looking for willow oak acornsBelvedere’s first-graders provided a tree-mendous service on Wednesday, combing the school grounds and Belvedere Park for tree seeds. As crafty and industrious as squirrels, they collected more than 1,000 acorns and hickory nuts for a small-scale tree seedling nursery — the newest of Belvedere’s environmental education projects.

sorting nuts in the park

The Dominion Foundation provided a grant to Belvedere to cover the cost of  our “Grow with Trees” project materials, including Rubbermaid totes, tree pots, topsoil, watering tools, books, identification tools, leaf and seed games, and iMovie software and licenses. Students will use iMovie to make short videos about the nursery and about how to take care of trees.

The nursery will connect education with ecological restoration and community service. While taking care of the trees, students will learn hands-on about life cycles, habitats, and ecosystem functions while practicing skills such as measurement, computation, identification, persuasive writing and narrative writing. This is the first of Belvedere’s “eco” projects to include community service: Our goal is to successfully raise the seeds into seedlings that can then be sold inexpensively to people who want to plant more trees in their yards. This will help Fairfax County meet its 30-YearTree Canopy Goal to increase the tree cover to 45% by 2037. The first grade collected the seeds as part of its citizenship unit, learning how groups of people can make a big difference in their community.

willow oak acorns first grade handTo develop the project, Belvedere sought guidance from Virginia Department of Forestry urban forester Jim McGlone, the Fairfax County Urban Forestry Management Division, and Waples Mill 5th grade and conservation science teacher Sean Duffy.

We know that not all 1000 seeds are going to be viable for planting. You’re welcome to bring in your own contributions – but please make sure they’re from your neighborhood and not a public park. You must have permission to remove anything, even a little willow oak acorn (as shown above), from public property.


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