Environmental and community stewardship for TECO on Arbor Day is a tree(t) for students

Stuart Lansing and Brandy Pope talk to Buckhorn Elementary students about the importance of planting the right tree in the right place.

Stuart Lansing and Brandy Pope talk to Buckhorn Elementary students about the importance of planting the right tree in the right place.

If you’re looking to celebrate growth, positive possibilities for the future and branching out in life – if you want to mark Florida’s Arbor Day – a school seems like the best place to be.

That’s what Tampa Electric team members had in mind when they visited Buckhorn Elementary in Valrico on Jan. 20, Florida’s Arbor Day for 2017. (National Arbor Day this year is April 28.)

With 400 Shumard oak seedlings to hand out, they were in the right place on the right day to get young minds thinking about sustainability – and to remind the community about Tampa Electric’s commitment to planting the right tree in the right place, both for the benefit of the trees and to help ensure the continued safe, reliable delivery of electricity.

Representing Tampa Electric’s Line Clearance team were Coordinator Brandy Pope, Arborist Stuart Lansing and Lead Arborist John Webster. Pope, whose daughter attends Buckhorn, said the excitement for Arbor Day – like the students themselves and their trees-to-be – has been growing for a little while now.

“She’s been looking forward to this day for weeks, and the entire school gave us a great reception,” Pope said. “We really enjoyed the opportunity to be able to help children start thinking at an early age that while we all value trees, we need to make sure that to fully respect them, we need to give them the best chance to grow – not only when it comes to basic growing conditions but also so that crews don’t have to remove them in the future.”

Firebush flowers, a beautiful addition to almost any Florida yard.

Firebush flowers, a beautiful addition to almost any Florida yard.

As a Tree Line USA utility, Tampa Electric prioritizes the health of trees it must trim near electric infrastructure. There’s a wealth of information you can find about this on our website, with safety as the highest consideration: Only licensed professionals should trim trees in general, and especially those growing close to power lines, transformers, meters and similar pieces of equipment.

Pope said the seeds of stewardship she and her team members planted with students are already showing signs of growing in the right direction.

“If everyone in the community has just a fraction of the enthusiasm for the value of trees that these kids do,” she said, “then the future seems like it has a good shot at being pretty green.”

Have you planted the right tree in the right place for Florida’s Arbor Day? Check out this guide for some great ideas.

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