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Thirteen-year-old Kelly Jansen, left, plants an oak tree sapling outside the Lakenheath Middle School, while seventh-grade classmates Rebecca Neal, 12, and Sarah Hathaway, 12, press down some sod around a shrub. The trees were part of a group of 60 planted by pupils in Greg Klaes' science class that capped a week of Earth Day events.

Thirteen-year-old Kelly Jansen, left, plants an oak tree sapling outside the Lakenheath Middle School, while seventh-grade classmates Rebecca Neal, 12, and Sarah Hathaway, 12, press down some sod around a shrub. The trees were part of a group of 60 planted by pupils in Greg Klaes' science class that capped a week of Earth Day events. (Ben Murray / S&S)

Thirteen-year-old Kelly Jansen, left, plants an oak tree sapling outside the Lakenheath Middle School, while seventh-grade classmates Rebecca Neal, 12, and Sarah Hathaway, 12, press down some sod around a shrub. The trees were part of a group of 60 planted by pupils in Greg Klaes' science class that capped a week of Earth Day events.

Thirteen-year-old Kelly Jansen, left, plants an oak tree sapling outside the Lakenheath Middle School, while seventh-grade classmates Rebecca Neal, 12, and Sarah Hathaway, 12, press down some sod around a shrub. The trees were part of a group of 60 planted by pupils in Greg Klaes' science class that capped a week of Earth Day events. (Ben Murray / S&S)

Seventh-grade pupils Britta Hadstrom, left, and Amber Luepke, both 12, plant an oak tree sapling at Lakenheath Middle School.

Seventh-grade pupils Britta Hadstrom, left, and Amber Luepke, both 12, plant an oak tree sapling at Lakenheath Middle School. (Ben Murray / S&S)

Zach Grab, 13, helps place a protective cylinder around an oak tree sapling Friday at Lakenheath Middle School.

Zach Grab, 13, helps place a protective cylinder around an oak tree sapling Friday at Lakenheath Middle School. (Ben Murray / S&S)

RAF FELTWELL — An implicit lesson on altruism, embedded in a tutorial on earth sciences, is not an easy thing to impress upon seventh-graders on a sunny Friday afternoon.

Anything outdoors on such a day, however, is “way better” than study hall, one pupil said.

Lakenheath Middle School teacher Greg Klaes seemed happy with his pupils’ efforts in two tilled gardens just outside his classroom at RAF Feltwell.

Scores of young trees were planted, and this year protective posts and cylindrical shields were added to keep them sheltered for the summer.

Last year, following a similar exercise, a misinformed groundskeeper unwittingly mowed down the class trees, Klaes said.

On Friday, the Feltwell pupils erected a small forest of well-guarded saplings, capping a week of environment-related activities at the school. In all, the seventh-graders planted 60 oak tree shoots and a number of shrubs to commemorate Earth Day.

Prior to the tree-planting, pupils had taken part in a can-collecting competition and created sculptures out of recyclable materials, Shannon Heard, 13, said. Shannon’s group sculpted a robot out of cardboard, cans and plastic bottles.

The work will be displayed at a local base exchange, Klaes said.

The kids said Friday’s outdoor effort, which involved about two dozen of the science teacher’s pupils, was the highlight.

Transplanting the sprouts of acorns the kids collected in the fall, Klaes set his pupils to work digging shallow pits for the saplings, protecting them with growing tubes and watering the baby trees.

The point, he said, was to combine lessons about earth sciences, life sciences and concepts such as photosynthesis into a fun event with an environmental angle.

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