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City of Little Rock Public Relations
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Contact(s):Peter Rausch
Urban Forester
501-374-8733 (TREE)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Monday, January 22, 2007

TREES DONATED FOR PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS


Little Rock, AR (January 22, 2007) Little Rock Urban Forestry, a division of Parks and Recreation, has received a donation of fifty (50) trees which will be planted in several city parks and public school playgrounds throughout the city. The first plantings will be done on Tuesday, January 23 at Martin Luther King Elementary (9:00 am) and Mabelvale Elementary (1:00 pm).

Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. headquartered in Pennsylvania with two plants in Arkansas, makes specialty wood products for residential and commercial contractors. In November, Conestoga Environmental Manager Bridgette Laukuff contacted Little Rock Urban Forester Peter Rausch to inquire about the city’s urban forestry program. “Bridgette asked if her company could donate trees to our program, and as a firm believer in partnerships, I said yes,” Rausch exclaims.

The first areas that came to his mind as needing more trees were some of the city’s school playgrounds. “I’ve always noticed that many playgrounds are out in the open away from trees and shade for the students” Rausch continues. Working with Debbie Milam of the LRSD Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) program, five elementary schools were selected – Carver, Mabelvale, Martin Luther King, and Terry.

The Principals were contacted and enthusiastically offered help coordinate the tree plantings with a fifth grade class at each school. Each class will receive educational materials and a short presentation on the importance of trees to the city’s environment, beauty and public health. Then the students will move outside to help plant the trees, which will soon shade their playground.

Other trees donated by Conestoga will be planted by the Urban Forestry crew in city parks including Boyle, Brodie Creek, Otter Creek, Mac Arthur and Murray Park.

“Partnerships with companies like Conestoga not only demonstrate corporate respect for the environment, they make our community a better, more attractive place to live,” says Rausch. Utilizing trees from the city’s own tree farm and donations from Conestoga, the Urban Forestry division will plant more than five hundred trees throughout Little Rock this year.

For more information about proper tree planting, or the city’s Urban Forestry program, contact forester Pete Rausch at 501.529.8733.
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