By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

You’ve probably read or heard in the past year about the declining tree canopy in the Louisville area. Well, we are blessed to have a campus full of trees and are actually increasing that number this week and next. I was attending our Lower School Morning Meeting this Tuesday and heard parent Nick Holmes (who is also the husband of humanities teacher Anne Holmes) speaking to our students about trees. It turns out this is a passion of his, and he was letting our students know that he is donating 112 trees to plant on our grounds! His talk made several impressions on me.  First, he asked our young ones “What do trees do for us?”. A hand shot up right away and said, “They produce oxygen!” Wow. It’s great to see our kids both knowledgeable and excited about science and the environment. He also told them that when he and Anne they moved into their new home, they had no trees in their backyard. He planted 400 seedlings in containers all over the yard, and 200 survived. And while that might seem like failure to some, he told the kids how we learn through failure, and that it actually taught him quite a bit. What a wonderful lesson! Many of our classes are taking part in the planting this week, spearheaded by Christine Brinkmann, and will get to see “their” trees grow during their coming years on the Goshen Campus. What a fabulous and meaningful experience for them!

Coincidentally, as fall is the best time to plant trees, we are also moving our traditional 8th grade tree planting to next week, too. Every graduating class plants a tree – and gets the “fun” of digging the large hole necessary for such a big root ball! We will have a short ceremony, and all of the 8th graders will get to pour some dirt on their class tree. And in a touching note, we are also hosting a special tree planting ceremony next Wednesday, November 14th at 1:15 p.m. to honor longtime St. Francis Lower School teacher Jenny Marshall, who passed away this past summer. Our 7th and 8th graders, the last two classes to have Jenny, will attend along with her children, family members, and past faculty. “Mrs. Marshall” was a St. Francis legend, and it is only fitting we will have a tree to help honor her memory and service, as she loved gardening, kids, and St. Francis.