WELLINGTON—November 21, 2022—On a crisp Monday morning, plastic hard-hat-clad Futures Unlimited preschoolers watch intently behind an orange fence north of Wellington along highway 81 as Shawn Becker with Becker Tree Farm backs his tree spade trailer to an open hole in the ground. He roars the tree spade engine to life (to the preschoolers’ delight), lowers the spade, plants the tree, then raises the spade blades as part of a tree-planting ceremony commemorating one dozen trees being planted in Futures’ newly expanded discovery playground made possible by a GrowMoreGood Garden Grant.

In collaboration with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening, The National Head Start Association has awarded ten agencies with grants to help establish gardens and green spaces for early childhood and community learning.

“We reclaimed over 5,000 sq. ft. of abandoned industrial land adjacent to our existing outdoor playground,” says Christa Jones, director of program services. “This grant allows us to enhance this area as a green space.”

Futures has plans to plant additional trees each year to continue the enhancement, providing a welcome park-like appearance, but more importantly, it provides ample educational opportunities to preschoolers and other program children and families. “We are committed to this project and are looking forward to utilizing this area even more and making sure all our program families have regular access to this large nature play area,” says Jones.

Likely Becker’s first-ever tree-planting ceremony, he quickly moves his machinery to the opposite side of the playground from the children because the event isn’t complete without preschoolers using toy watering cans to practice watering the newly planted pear tree.