WILLCOX — Teach a child to grow a tree and the world will be just a little greener.

The ongoing tree planting project gathered schoolchildren and local community leaders together last Thursday morning at the Willcox Cemetery to plant 40 Afghan pine trees. A Willcox seventh-grade class has been working for six months to gather funds to plant 90 trees in the city.

At Thursday’s drive, Willcox students as well as Cochise Elementary students worked together on the tree planting.

“It’s an amazing experience to be able to plant trees once again in Willcox. I do realize that watering these trees requires a long-term commitment, and I am glad that the City of Willcox officials have done that,” said Rebecca Bhasme, seventh-grade teacher who spearheaded the tree- planting project. “I am positive that by developing new ways to conserve water, harvest rainwater and reuse water, we can continue planting and conserving our valley.”

The middle school class has raised more than $700 to purchase plants. This is the second batch of trees that have been planted in the City of Willcox, with the first being 30 trees planted by students at the Willcox Golf Course in May.

“I’m glad that these students are interested in their community at the age they are, and they’re really being directed the right way; they’re taking it the right way, and they’re putting their efforts into making the city beautiful,” said Willcox Mayor Mike Laws, who was at last week’s tree planting. “I think that goes a long way, even with tree planting, because they learn not to litter and they’re being taught the right way to make this happen. The city enjoys helping them because it really seems to put you back years to when things were done differently; and we’re trying to get back to that hometown pride, and they’re bringing it.”

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