ESCANABA - Four generations of my family have trod the soils of north Escanaba. We have taken a lot of good from the neighborhood.
Last week was time to give some "good" back to the ground that our parents and grandparents walked on.
I spent my very first school days in the kindergarten classroom at Webster Elementary School. Mrs. Goymerac read stories and taught me to value stories, writings and columns.
Karen Wils photo
Webster School principal, Jude VanDamme, stands by with a shovel as third-graders, Clay Naser, left, Ashleigh Davis, Peyton Wellman, and Austin Nelson complete the planting of a shade tree on the school grounds.
My mother, Luella Stasewich, and her brothers and sisters and so many of my cousins went to Webster School also.
From the jack pines and the big old metal jungle gym to the "new" school and wading pool, Webster's block (1100 North 18th) has seen a lot of learning and growing over the years.
As part of Escanaba's sesquicentennial celebration, my family and extended family donated money to have a tree planted in the Webster School yard. As the tree grows and provides shade for the next generations, we will share many good memories.
The Esky 150 Committee, with the help of many donations, planted 150 trees in various locations around town to enhance a green and growing future for Escanaba.
Neighborhood volunteers ("NeighborWoods") took part in planting shrubs, flowers, and ferns in parks and schoolyards near them this fall. Small children even helped, plopping rotund daffodil bulbs in holes dug at Sylvan Point Park on Escanaba's south side.
Of course, it is youngsters who will be around when the 2013 trees start to reach maturity. A small investment in time will hopefully pay off for them. They may be able to walk by these parks and one day and say, "I helped plant that!"
When spring arrives, the daffodils should help brighten up our surroundings. As time goes on, the trees and bushes should provide shade, protection from soil erosion, homes for small animals, and learning opportunities for kids.
The final NeighborWoods planting was held Saturday at north Escanaba's Stephenson Park, what we locals refer to as the Dock Diamond. Lilacs and other shrubs went into the ground, along with an assortment of flowers and ferns. The warm and sunny day allowed volunteers pleasant temperatures as they went about their work.
As part of the Esky 150 Tree project, the City of Escanaba will maintain the large landscape trees that they planted, but it is up to local residents to help care for the smaller plantings. If you jog by a park and see a plant in need, think about emptying some of your Dasani there.
My family has a fondness for trees and living things, so we've been happy to help with landscaping at various locations, including the Holy Name Outdoor Classroom and the Rose Park garden north of the roundabout.
It's gratifying to see vines, stalks and flowers peeping out this time of year, but unfortunately some plants occasionally get lifted and that's too bad. The gardens are here for everyone.
The native Americans believed that Earth is our mother, so why in the world would we do something bad to the one who gave us life?
The green spaces give us places to dream, reflect and be inspired. In our techno-crazed world, the whisper of leaves and grass gives our minds a break from the hum of machines, our eyes a break from flickering screens.
Plant and nurture something growing in your area for future generations.
Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published each week in Lifestyles.