Volunteers tend trees for MLK Day

Kirk Boxleitner, kboxleitner@ptleader.com
Posted 1/17/17

What started with the planting of 20 fruit trees at Blue Heron Middle School has grown into an annual Martin Luther King Day of labor to foster the narrow field of 70 apple, plum and pear trees …

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Volunteers tend trees for MLK Day

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What started with the planting of 20 fruit trees at Blue Heron Middle School has grown into an annual Martin Luther King Day of labor to foster the narrow field of 70 apple, plum and pear trees adjacent to the school parking lot.

Seth Rolland of Quimper Community Harvest, which planted the original trees seven years ago and the follow-up 50 trees in 2013, has enlisted the aid of his fellow gleaners every MLK Day since then to tend to the trees.

This year, that tending included laying down 20 yards of Washington manure donated by Roger Short, 50 yards of alder bark donated by Hermann Brothers Logging & Construction of Port Angeles, and 15 yards of wood chips from various area tree services.

Rolland estimated that about 10 gleaners were joined in their efforts this year by more than 20 eighth-graders from the middle school and roughly a dozen each of high school students, parents and school staff.

“It’s a really fun event,” Rolland said. “You have these enormous piles that look like they’ll be impossible to move, but in just a few hours, we’ll have these trees well-mulched and fertilized and looking good.”

Matt Holshouser, principal of Blue Heron, not only appreciates having the harvest of fruit from the trees available for his students to snack on between classes, but he also sees it as a way to live up to King’s example of service to one’s community.

“He showed respect for all by being service-minded, and if we can embody that ideal in some small way, it will be worth it,” said Holshouser.Ciel McDaniel, an eighth-grader at the school, said that taking part in the day’s work was a class requirement, but he sees it as a positive action for reasons beyond his grade.

“Martin Luther King set a moral example for me,” said McDaniel. “He set out to help all minorities, and that required a tremendous work ethic. He did what he knew he would need to do in order to accomplish his goals.”

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