by Mary Beth Pelosky, Nottingham Prinicipal
Earlier this spring we received notification that Nottingham was selected for the honor of being chosen as the elementary school site for the annual Arlington Arbor Day ceremony. During my remarks at this morning’s ceremony, in which Nottingham Knights were the fortunate recipients of two new Oak trees, I shared that it was my great pleasure to welcome Arlington Supt. of Schools, Dr. Patrick Murphy, members of our PTA, Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey, and School Board Member Tannia Talento who joined other esteemed guests from the VA Dept. of Forestry, Arlington County Parks and Recreation and the Arlington Union Forestry Commission.
Those in attendance learned that Nottingham’s Arbor Day celebration was centered upon the good works of an African woman, Wangari Maathai. I first learned about her on my first trip to Africa in Kenya. Her story resonated with me as a teacher, in particular about the powerful impact of one determined person. Knights learned that, “In Arlington and across VA, in fact across the nation, during the last week of April, students are learning about the importance of trees and the challenges of de-forestation. In preparing for this morning’s ceremony, I refreshed my memory about the first Arbor Day in the United States, in 1872 in Nebraska. It is estimated that one million trees were planted during the first Arbor Day. Children then and now learn many facts about trees. Primarily, that they are needed as windbreak to keep soil in place, for fuel, for shade from the hot sun and for clean air.
An Arbor Day Proclamation was read, we received a flag commemorating the 21st Tree City USA Award and our very own SCA president, Grant C., did an outstanding job of reading a brief biography of Wangari Maathai’s life dedicated to Planting a Path to Peace. In 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. See Seeds of Change: Wangari’s Gift to the World | A Mighty Girl for more information.
Strong kudos are in order for Choral Music teacher, Ms. Cora Rhodes as she very ably led select musicians and choral members through three performances, most notably a newly written piece in honor of this visionary woman, Mama Miti. Lastly, the executive SCA leaders were joined by two representatives of our Planet Partners as we helped plant our very own trees of peace.