Christine Lee, Grand Prairie Reporter
Hundreds of Grand Prairie students celebrated Arbor Day by taking their classroom outside to the Kirby Creek Nature Center.
Hundreds of Grand Prairie elementary school students celebrated the city's 28th year as Tree City USA participant.
For the first time, the city had its annual Arbor Day celebration at Kirby Creek Nature Center. Every student left with a tree to plant on their own.
City horticulturist and arborist Susan Henson said it was particularly nice to host the 700 students at the city's new nature center because every student in kindergarten through fifth grade would eventually learn hands-on there. She said the program adds to the center's uniqueness.
"It is the first handicap-accessible garden in Grand Prairie, and we're very proud of that," she said.
Tonya Smith, a teacher at David Crockett 5th Grade Center, said she started teaching her students the basics.
"We try to teach them to be nice to the trees -- not swing on them or break them and try to kill them, but just to help them to stay alive," she said.
Fifth-grader Florentino Lopez said getting to learn outside has been refreshing.
"Outside, you can help the plants and, on the inside, there is nothing," he said. "Like, we study a lot."
Henson said Grand Prairie annually spends at least $2 per resident on trees.
"Every year we spend $2 at least on tree programs, planting, watering, mulching, pruning," she said.