Planting partners

Avonworth High School students who provided some “extra muscle“ to assist preschoolers in the planting, from left: Ally Yovetich, Logan Yovetich, Tucker Yovetich, Justin Bellotti, Anders Ove, Anna Joyce. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

To celebrate the 145th year of Arbor Day festivities, volunteers last Friday planted several trees on the grounds of Ohio Township’s Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church, replacing those that Duquesne Light had removed due to potential hazards to people and property because of age.

Among the replacement plantings that the company donated were three bushes, seven trees, mulch, top soil, perennials and educational items. Along with other donations, the value of the utility’s contribution to the environmental effort exceeded $1,000.

The church had asked Beth Yovetich if she would be willing to supervise the job since she is the director of Mt. Nebo Preschool.

“I accepted willingly because I not only felt strongly about replacing the trees, but I also saw it as a tremendous learning experience for the children. It also created an opportunity for our preschool "family" to help our community. It was overwhelming to see how many students and parents showed up with rakes and shovels, ready to take on any job they were assigned.”

Duquesne Light and Davey Tree -- the arborist removing trees beyond salvaging -- also donated coloring books, seeds, potting soil, and biodegradable containers for the children to plant their own trees to take home.

Yovetich said that the workers “…gave us slices of the huge old trees they cut down so the children could count the rings to see how many years old the trees were. The kids were shocked! Duquesne Light took attendance, created an emergency meeting place and covered all safety measures before we began.”

Yovetich closed the day’s activities by encouraging all of the students to come back in 20 years to show their own children the trees they helped to plant back when they attended Mt. Nebo Preschool.

Volunteer Anders Ove said that the experience was a worthwhile celebration of Arbor Day. “Not only did I meet many fellow community members, but the trees we planted benefited a great cause and will be seen blossoming for years to come.”

“It was an absolutely amazing day! It was heartwarming to see so many different people come together and do their part to keep our world a beautiful place,” Yovetich said.