Boy, 10, Sees Idea Take Root at School

Ten-year-old Frank Moreno, who recently became the youngest recipient of a grant from the Orange County Tree Society, was honored Friday with an Arbor Day ceremony at his school, Dr. Jessie Hayden Elementary.

The school received $360 from the nonprofit organization, which allowed Frank and Principal Dwayne Collier to buy 30 trees, each about 4 to 5 feet tall.

"It's wonderful to see 30 trees being planted on a very empty playground," said Gloria Schlaepfer, president of the tree society.

"It's also great because this is the first time we've ever had an elementary school student apply for a grant."

According to Collier and Frank's family, the fifth-grader spotted a newspaper advertisement last fall inviting Orange County residents to apply for grants to plant trees in their communities.

After receiving permission from Collier and district officials, Frank wrote the grant proposal himself.

"He decided the school needed trees and initiated the whole thing," said district spokeswoman Trish Cannady.

Collier said he and Frank visited nurseries to select the trees--Australian willow, carrotwood, magnolia and Canary Island pine--which were planted in clusters across the campus Friday.

"Hopefully, these trees will grow nice and strong and give us lots of shade," Frank said.

The Orange County Tree Society was founded in 1989 and awards $5,000 a year to organizations and individuals to plant trees on schools, parks or other public property.

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