PS 304 kids ‘root’ for nature

Youngsters at P.S. 304 learned about nature and worked to create a pollution barrier for their school by planting saplings.

Parents, students, teachers and community all got involved in a massive planting of about 60 saplings by students next to their school building on Friday, Oct.18.

The trees were donated to the school by the Waterbury LaSalle Community Association, which obtained the saplings from the National Wildlife Federation and the MillionTreesNYC the campaign.

The students worked with parents to plant the trees along a stretch of land bordering the Cross Bronx Expressway, and the hope is that it can serve as a barrier between the school and the highway, said Mary Jane Musano, who handled the tree donation to the school for her community organization.

“The highway is right there and there is a strip of land where there is just nothing,” she said. “We want to create a barrier for air and sound pollution coming from the highway. They also have an edible garden, and planted American Hazelnut trees there.”

School principal Joe Nobile said that the experience of planting trees gave students a learning experience that compliments classroom work.

“What I like about this is that it is hands-on learning,” he said. “You can read it in a book and put it up on a smartboard, but there is nothing like hands-on learning. You see the children out here examining the trees and the roots. You get to experience nature and science in action.”

P.S. 304 science teacher Rosely Miles, who took the lead in the project, instructed the children on how to plant the trees. She said that it was one of many horticulture projects that the school has underway.

Among the trees planted were Dogwoods, Magnoilas, Eastern Redbud, Red Birtch, Red Pine and Evergreen.

Allison Walsh, among several parent volunteers helping at the planting, said that being out in the soil proved to be a first for many of the youngsters.

“A lot of children have never been out in the soil or planted something before,” she said, adding that she hoped that as the years go by many students will look outside and see the blooming trees as the fruits of their labor.

Parents participating included Walsh, PTA co-president Jen Camillo, Joe Camillo, Kathy Tighe, and Roxana Cheng.

Teachers assisting Miles included Christina McGrath and Jackie Steinberger.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

More from Around NYC