I talked with the Tree Lady!       

Sponsored by Decatur Beautification





            Morgan County Fair Education Day





If you have or have had a Kindergartener or First Grader in the Decatur Public Schools in the past few years, he or she has probably met The Tree Lady.  Miss Emily (otherwise known as Emily Johnson, Decatur Recycling Coordinator) and The Tree Lady (alias Rita Baker) see most of the children in that age bracket each year, going to the schools as invited, in the fall and in the spring, to Education Day at the County Fair and at Arbor Day celebrations.

HPIM0385a.JPG (31273 bytes)Miss Emily begins the program with recycling information geared to that age level and aimed at inspiring the children to help preserve our environment.  The Tree Lady then appears in a marvelous costume,  complete with a trunk, a bird's nest hood, vines, insects, leaves, roots and five wonderful pockets from which little hands pull items related to trees -- fruit, nuts, small tree-dwelling creatures, things made from wood.  The children are asked to compare themselves to a tree -- roots are like our feet that hold us firmly on the ground, etc. and to explore the importance of trees in their lives.

During the 2007 - 2008 school year, we visited 7 schools plus Education Day at the Morgan County Fair and have given the complete program more than 25 times!  Last school year, The Tree Lady talked with over 2000 children. 

A specially designed color book, sponsored by The Decatur Daily  is given to each child.

The Tree Lady or Talking Tree costume was created in the mid 90's by Liz Funderburk of Rock Hill, SC from an idea by Jane Hays, the Clean and Green Environmental Education Coordinator.  Ms. Hays demonstrated the costume at a Keep America Beautiful convention where it created quite a stir.  Mindy Thwing, who was the Decatur Beautification Director, saw it and ordered one for the local program.  The first Decatur Tree Lady was Suzy Wiley who had spearheaded an effort to raise money for the costume,  followed by Ms.Thwing, and then in 1999 by Ms. Baker.












At Chestnut Grove                                                        At St Ann's with Pooh Bear











At Benjamin Davis                                                                                    At Woodmeade











                                                     At Eastwood School 

                                                                                                                                 At Somerville Road  Elementary



Arbor Day Celebration at Delano Park with Somerville Road Science Club














Morgan County Fair Education Day


Banks-Caddell Elementary

Did you know:

The cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day (US Dept of Agriculture)

One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen.  This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. (USDA)

Trees can be a stimulus to economic development, attracting new business and tourism.  Commercial retail areas are more attractive to shoppers, apartments rent more quickly, tenants stay longer and space in a wooded setting is more valuable to sell or rent. (National Arbor Day Foundation)

Decatur Recycling Dept.                       


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Last updated 17-Dec-2010