Southgate celebrates another year of Tree Trust

Published 9:37 am Saturday, May 19, 2018

As students took turns on the shovel, classmates and teachers of Southgate Elementary took turns Friday morning sharing stories of former teacher Dorran Rickert, who passed away earlier this year.

Students and staff were planting a Minnesota Redbud tree, donated by Spruce Up Austin and planted in memory of Rickert who had retired in 2016.

It was part of the Tree Trust at the school, an annual event in its 24th year that allowed students outside to beautify the school grounds.

Southgate student Joe Pirmantgen dumps a shovel of dirt on a tree planted in memory of retired teacher Dorran Rickert who passed away earlier this year. Rickert retired in 2016. Eric Johnson/

Email newsletter signup

“It’s just a great time to unite us in the space that we have,” said Principal Katie Baskin. “It allows [students] to take ownership.”

The students dispersed into groups by class, each with an assigned area. Weeds were pulled, mulch was laid down.

“It’s one of those days kids always remember,” Baskin said.

The students spent the entire day outdoors,  first cleaning and then having lunch. In the afternoon — popsicles and a tour around the school grounds so each student could see not only the areas they worked on, but those areas other students worked on.

“These kids will be going all day,” Baskin said. “Then they get a popsicle and walk around and see everyone’s amazing work.”

It’s also a great way to teach students about the world around them.

“We’re teaching them about the environment and how to be good stewards,” Baskin said.