Petersham 5th grader places first in state-wide poster contest

  • 2019 winner of the Mass. Arbor Day poster contest, Annabella DiMartino of Petersham, right, with 2nd place winner Anika Umapathy of Walpole, left, planting the Center School’s new tree. Submitted photo

  • The Center School’s 2019 winning poster design, by Annabella DiMartino of Petersham. Submitted photo

Published: 6/18/2019 9:40:21 PM

PETERSHAM — Students from the Petersham Center School were treated to a visit by leaders of the Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation’s Urban and Community Forestry Program June 7, to honor an accomplishment by one of their peers. PCS fifth-grader Annabella DiMartino earned first place in the 2019 Massachusetts Arbor Day poster contest, topping submissions by dozens of schools across the commonwealth.

The DCR ceremony, led by DCR Urban and Community Forestry Program team leaders Julie Coop and Mollie Freilicher, included the reading of tree-themed poetry, a discussion of the benefits of trees, and the sharing of other top poster designs from around the state.

The poster contest, sponsored in part by the Mass. DCR for nearly 20 years, annually receives dozens of entries from schools across the commonwealth. Each year’s theme is designed to increase students’ understanding of the importance of forest diversity and the role trees play in their community. Submissions are judged by hundreds of tree professionals from the Mass. DCR and the Mass. Tree Wardens’ and Foresters’ Association. The 2019 contest theme was “Trees Have Mass Appeal.”

The contest winner’s school receives art supplies, educational materials, and a tree to be planted on the school’s grounds. DiMartino selected a sugar maple for the Center School. After the DCR ceremony, she worked alongside the DCR team, her teacher Aaron O’Connor, and the state contest’s second place winner, Anika Umapathy of Walpole, to plant the tree as her fifth-grade classmates and family cheered her on.

DiMartino’s poster was submitted to the state-wide contest following a classroom contest run by the Petersham Forest & Shade Tree Committee and educators and scientists from Harvard Forest.

To prepare students for the contest, members of the Petersham Forest and Shade Tree Committee joined educators from the Harvard Forest to present an integrated art and science program for the fifth-grade class. The program included a discussion of the many services trees provide, an interactive activity about how plants and animals are connected in ecosystems, and an art lesson on how to draw a tree.

The Petersham Center School has entered the state contest once before, in 2016, when Petersham fifth grader Lillian Maxwell’s poster entry also won the state-wide competition.


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