Julia Sheldon of Cutchogue East Elementary School won this year’s Arbor Day school poster contest, sponsored by the Southold Town Tree Committee. The fifth grader, as well as honorable mention recipients, were recognized at last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting.
“I was very impressed with this year’s winner,” said Peggy Murphy, a retired schoolteacher and longtime tree committee volunteer. “I thought it was pretty spectacular.”
Julia’s winning poster was segmented into four quadrants — each one featuring artwork representative of a different season. She wrote on the poster, “Trees keep life going all four seasons.”
The four honorable mention recipients — Kaitlin Sorocco of Oysterponds Elementary School, Alisson Villacorta Mejia of New Suffolk School, Brady Woods of Southold Elementary School and Chloe Johnson of Fishers Island School — also created posters that concerned saving trees and viewing them as the roots of life.
Arbor Day, a holiday typically observed in the spring, is intended for public tree planting, preservation and replacement.
Ms. Murphy said in September of each year, the tree committee sets guidelines and invites fifth and sixth graders who attend schools in the town to participate. Submissions are collected in early winter and later evaluated. In the spring, qualifying students are announced before the Town Board and the first prize winner gets a tree planted at his or her school.
Ms. Murphy said she grew up in Southold and remembers it being a very rural place.
“I guess part of me just wanted to see that continue as much as possible,” she said. “I saw the farmlands vanishing.”
In order to spread awareness and inform the youth, Ms. Murphy and the rest of the committee sponsor programs like this one. An educational program along similar lines is held at the Southold Historical Society. Ultimately, the goal is to keep the momentum going and to start young.
“You hope that whatever they pick up, they take someplace else,” Ms. Murphy said.
CORRECTION: A photo caption misidentified Councilwoman Jill Doherty.
Photo caption: Councilwoman Jill Doherty joins Cutchogue East fifth-grader Julia Sheldon. (Credit: Denise Ficurilli/courtesy photo)