PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — In recognition of Florida’s Arbor Day, the City of Panama City received 14 trees from Re-Tree PC that were planted across the community on Friday.
Two parks and four Bay District Schools – Jinks Middle School, Lucille Moore Elementary, Merriam Cherry Street Elementary and Bay High School got the live oak trees.
Jinks’ tree was planted in the school’s courtyard, an area that has been used more since Hurricane Michael caused major damage to the gym.
“We congregate out here prior to school starting and again at lunch time. The kids use this as a recreation area,” principal Blythe Carpenter said. “We try to utilize this outdoor space we’ve been given as sort of a replacement or a substitute until we can get our gym built.”
“We play soccer, tag, just running around in circles being crazy [in the courtyard],” sixth grader Laura Branda said.
Students were surprised when the tree was planted today and are excited about the addition to their school.
“I love the tree, it’s so cute and small and petite so it just made me happy honestly to have more nature,” sixth grader Kelsey Fields said.
“It was pretty awesome, very surprising, exciting to know that we had a new tree,” Jorgia Henderson added.
City leaders say they want to bring shaded areas back to the community.
“I think shade is some of the most valuable real estate in Panama City right now. Many of the trees haven’t even come back yet, so I think it’s important that we put as many trees as we can especially out on playgrounds and out in common areas where kids are,” Ty Farris, senior manager of the Quality of Life Department, said.
Farris says they plan to plant trees at the other Panama City Schools within the next few weeks.