Cub Scouts from Aquia Pack 213 join Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, Stafford County Supervisor Cord Sterling and representatives from the 95 Express Lanes private partners, Transurban and Fluor,  to plant trees off Centreport Parkway in Stafford County. The trees were offered under the 1,000 Trees in 1,000 Days program, an initiative by Transurban-Fluor to help replace trees along the 29-mile 95 Express Lanes project corridor. [Submitted photo]

MANASSAS, Va. – The Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative donated 280 tree seedlings to Manassas Park Elementary School fourth graders on April 24, 2014, in recognition of Arbor Day. Principal Stacey R. Mamon and Assistant Principal Melissa Pitts accepted the trees from Donna Snellings, NOVEC public and government relations liaison, and Eddie Bartalos, a NOVEC employee and Manassas Park resident.

“NOVEC has participated in the National Fourth Grade Foresters Program for many years,” stated Snellings. “We’ve given tree seedlings to Manassas Park Elementary fourth graders for three years. We hope our donation will help them learn how trees help to reduce carbon dioxide in the air we breathe.”

Arbor Day, which originated in Nebraska in 1872, encourages individuals and groups to plant and care for trees. NOVEC recognizes Arbor Day as part of its “green” environmental stewardship program.

Melissa Pitts, Manassas Park Elementary School assistant principal, thanked Snellings and said, “This is our first year of all students from third to fifth grade having 70 minutes of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineer, and Mathematics] every day in their curriculum. The donation of the trees is another tool that can be used in the teaching process for the program.”

Snellings said NOVEC hopes the students will “gain a greater appreciation for the beauty and benefits of nature all around us.”

Manassas Park Elementary School earned a LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — Gold designation in 2010. According to the Green Building Council, a LEED certification, “demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.” For a building built in 2009 to earn the LEED designation, it had to satisfy all LEED prerequisites and earn a minimum of 40 points on a 100-point rating system scale. To earn a Gold certification, the school had to earn 60-79 points.