By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Forest Ridge Elementary School celebrated Earth Day last week by giving to Keizer Parks.

Twenty-five students in first through fifth grade planted five trees at Pfc. Ryan J. Hill Memorial Park at Keizer Station on Thursday, April 20.

“Even though they’re young, they’re a still a help to us,” said Robert Johnson, one of two full-time employees at Keizer Parks. “They’re actually bigger than we were anticipating, which is awesome. It’s going to make a big difference in our parks this year.”

The trees, 16 total, the rest to be planted at Willamette Manor, Meadows and Bob Newton parks, were given to Forest Ridge for the service project from North West Shade Trees and Mahonia Nursery at a big discount.

“To purchase the trees it would have been thousands of dollars,” Kevin Pack, a parent volunteer, said. “We paid a very small percentage of that. They gave us a very big deal. They were very generous and very helpful.”

The elementary school paid for the trees, signs and maintenance by participating in a coin drive.

Forest Ridge started the project four years ago by planting trees at its school. The past two years, students went to Keizer Rapids Park. They planted four trees at the entrance of the Big Toy last spring.

“It teaches them environmental stewardship and to take care of the resources that we have,” Pack said. “We’re partnering with the city of Keizer here so it teaches them civic responsibility and that we have more than just ourself and our own properties. It’s a bigger community.”