Dot Park spruced up with oak trees, students’ help

Third grade students from Pope John Paul II Academy helped members of the Dorchester Park Association (DPA) plant a tree in Dorchester Park last Friday.

The DPA planted three northern red oak trees in Dorchester Park in an effort to maintain the urban forest’s verdancy. A grant from the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, which was created by the city to replace trees lost in this spring’s severe wind storms, funded the tree planting, according to DPA members.

Landscapers from Cedar Grove Gardens, which provided and planted the red oaks, took the third graders through the steps of planting a tree. Students eagerly lined up to take a turn shoveling earth and watering the newly planted oak, which is approximately the same age as the students.

The third graders learned botany in addition to the nuts and bolts of planting a tree. Richard O’Mara, owner of Cedar Grove Gardens and a member of the DPA, asked the students what they would like to name to the tree.

“Well is it a boy or girl?” shouted one of the students. “It’s actually both!” answered O’Mara, delving into a description of plant reproduction.

Kris Joy, who teaches the third graders, said that the DPA’s invitation to Pope John Paul II Academy to participate in the tree planting was particularly timely as her class had just finished a unit on plant ecology.

“ This was a great real life experience for the kids,” said Joy. “It brought the classroom out into the world, and some day the students will be able to come back and visit to see what they learned.”