Tree Campus K-12 Distinction

Central-Denison Elementary School Earns Tree Campus K-12 Distinction From the Arbor Day Foundation
Posted on 11/02/2022
Central-Denison Elementary School Earns Tree Campus K-12 Distinction From the Arbor Day Foundation

Central-Denison Elementary School is one of 70 elementary, middle, and high schools across the United States to earn recognition through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus K-12 program.


The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest membership nonprofit organization dedicated to tree planting. Its Tree Campus K-12 program, launched last year, encourages educators to create meaningful opportunities for students to interact with trees.


“Spending time in nature sparks children’s imaginations, improves mental and physical health, and shapes them into lifelong environmental stewards,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We are thrilled to see schools like Central-Denison Elementary School lead the way in this important work.”

Tree Award

To earn this distinction, Central-Denison Elementary School met four goals:

-       Maintain a Tree Campus team that is dedicated to achieving recognition

-       Create an education plan that connects students to trees and their global benefits

-       Offer a hands-on experience that engages students in trees and the community

-       Hold an Arbor Day observance to celebrate trees within the school or the community


Our Tree Campus team consisted of nearly 500 participants! They included Lake Geneva Tree Board Chairperson Candy Kirchberg, City Arborist Jon Foster, members Sonya Dailey, Colorado Goldwyn, Clara Jacobs, and Mayor Charlene Klein. Participants from the Lake Geneva Schools included Principals Becky Buhler (Central-Denison Elementary), Chiper Tennessen (Star Center Elementary), Erin Zigler (Eastview Elementary), and about 450 students and teachers from grades 2 and 5. Badger High School FFA students, under the direction of Candice Franks, also participated by conducting germination experiments with some of the Sugar Maple seeds.


The educational plan began with second-grade students at Central-Denison Elementary learning to collect mature Sugar Maple seeds from trees on their playground. Students did an amazing job and collected over 2000 seeds; enough to share with three other schools! Teachers Janelle Matthiesen, Deb Gebhardt, Colleen Swiatowy, Kory Garlock, Ruth Neu, Mackenzie Umnus, Sarah Kuespert, and Becky Wright created lessons to teach students the value of trees, and every student went home with seeds and instructions on how to plant them in a location of their choice.


The following spring, these students were honored by the City of Lake Geneva during the 2022 Arbor Day Celebration. Central-Denison Elementary earned a Maple tree that was planted on school grounds by arborist Jon Foster. At the ceremony, second-grade teachers presented the city of Lake Geneva with a fantastic Tree Book created by all 140 of their students. This lasting legacy of the project is available for viewing at the Lake Geneva Public Library in downtown Lake Geneva. The Arbor Day Foundation has presented Central-Denison Elementary School with a plaque and K-12 Tree Campus Flag that can be displayed by the school in honor of this distinguished national award.


To earn national recognition as a K-12 Tree Campus School, Central-Denison Elementary School met all four of the program requirements. An amazing Tree Campus Team created educational goals that included hands-on learning for nearly 450 students and honored the students with an Arbor Day Celebration on school grounds.


Other Arbor Day Foundation recognition programs include Tree City USA, Tree Campus Higher Education, and Tree Campus Healthcare. Working together, the four programs celebrate tree-planting efforts at nearly every community level.


To learn more and see the complete list of recognized schools, visit


About the Arbor Day Foundation Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Since 1972, almost 500 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities, and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to lead toward a world where trees are used to solve issues critical to survival. As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners, and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing, and celebrating trees. More information is available at

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