Osage City’s fifth-graders plant tree in honor of district forestry poster winner

OCES fifth-grader Kassie Hamblin and community forester Kim Bomberger prepare the roots of an Overcup Oak before planting it in Huffman Park.

A fifth-grader at Osage City Elementary School celebrated Arbor Day this year in a way she will likely never forget. For Kassie Hamblin, the memory should last for years, as she’ll be able to watch it grow along a trail in Osage City’s Huffman Park .

Kassie was the winner of the Northeast Kansas Forest District 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest this year, and in her honor, the Osage City Tree Board planted a tree in the arboretum at Huffman Park. In a special ceremony on April 10, the entire fifth grade class was invited to the park, where community district forester Kim Bomberger, of the Kansas Forest Service demonstrated how to plant Kassie’s tree.

042415-Kassie-Hamblin-NE-DiKassie won the first-place prize in her district for making a poster with the theme of “Trees are Terrific … in Kansas Cities and Towns!”

Kassie’s tree is an Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata), which is in the white oak family, and often seen 30 to 40 feet high and wide, with a rounded silhouette, open crown, and large-diameter branches. It eventually produces acorns, which are popular with wildlife. As part of Kassie’s honor, a plaque was placed near the tree with her name, the reason for the honor, and information about the tree. The tree is planted on the south side of the park along the park’s trail.

Kassie also received a tree-planting backpack as part of her prize, and all of her fellow students in the fifth-grade class were given a redbud tree to take home and plant.

Her winning poster will be among the six finalists, one of which will be selected as the statewide winner. The Kansas winner is recognized at the Tree City USA recognition in the spring, and a request is made each year for the state winner to meet with the governor and plant a tree on the Capitol grounds.

The Osage City’s fifth-grade class involvement in the poster contest was organized by the school’s art teacher, Becky Weaver, and included entries from fifth grade students of Jeff Whitmer and Jessica Kirkpatrick.

Last year, the Osage City Tree Board requested for the park to become an arboretum, where different kinds of trees can be planted to honor or remember people. A plaque is to be placed by each tree identifying its variety. See related article here.

For more information about the poster contest, see www.kansasforests.org or email [email protected].

042415-Kassie-Hamblin-group

In honor of Osage City fifth-grader Kassie Hamblin’s winning forestry poster, the Osage City Tree Board and others gathered in Huffman Park to plant a tree, from left, Alan Myers, representing the contest’s sponsor ITC, Kathi Webster, Kassie Hamblin, Bill Rezac, Cheryl Mussatto, and Debbie Chrum.

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