Watermelons, snakes and Christmas trees

posted on December 9, 2016 10:01am

A child drew a watermelon slice, which was inspired by the book, “The Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli.  (view larger image)
A child drew a watermelon slice, which was inspired by the book, “The Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli.

How do watermelons, teapots, snakes and some very hungry caterpillars end up on Christmas trees? It’s the result of a partnership between the MSU Department of Horticulture, the Department of Forestry and about 450 elementary schoolers. Every year, students from Greater Lansing take part in a literacy lesson and decorate ornaments based on their chosen books.

Staff and volunteers visit classrooms in Lansing, Williamston, Holt, Okemos and Haslett and read books ranging from “The Watermelon Seed” to “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Their brilliantly colored decorations cover 15 Christmas trees and enliven the hallway leading up to the Atrium at the Horticulture Greenhouses. The outreach program not only provides an educational opportunity for students, it gives them a greater connection to their community, gardens on campus and to our trees.

The Department of Forestry and the Tree Research Center donated trees for the project. “We love being able to get the trees from a local source and tell the kids that they come from campus they love that,” says Jessica Wright, project and event coordinator for the Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden. 

The trees will be on display until Christmas. Stop by the Horticulture Gardens to see them on display, and take a look at the gigantic poinsettia tree.