Portsmouth West Elementary was honored to receive a visit from many distinguished guests for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources “Trees to Textbook” award presentation on January 17th, 2020. Those present included: ODE Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo De Maria; Ohio State Representative Brian Baldridge; Ohio State Senator Terry Johnson; ODNR Director Mary Mertz; ODNR Division of Forestry Assistant Chiefs Dave Lane and Greg Guess; Teresa Lewis representing U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup; Ohio State Forester Dan Balser; Forest Manage Dale Egbert; ODNR District 5 Division of Forestry Manager Nate Jester; Scioto County Commissioner Cathy Coleman; Washington-Nile administration and school board; and Smokey Bear.
Superintendent De Maria shared the importance of learning and Director Mertz spoke about the importance of our trees in Ohio’s state forests. Students enjoyed a Smokey Bear video teaching the importance of taking care our forests and the ABC’s of fire safety. Then Smokey Bear made his appearance to the delight of everyone. He lead the students in the ‘Always Be Careful’ cheer and received many high fives and hugs as the kids left the gym.
After the assembly, Superintendent De Maria took a tour of the elementary, stopping by several classrooms and speaking with many of the students.
In 1999, the ODNR Division of Forestry ‘Trees to Textbooks’ program began and has distributed more than $31 million, shared with Ohio school districts and local governments (FY18). The funds are distributed to school districts that have state forest within the district borders.
Thank you to the ODNR Division of Forestry and to all those that work to keep our state forest both beautiful and everlasting.