Youngsters enjoy hands-on Earth Day

Y after schoolers plant trees for posterity

The group poses for a keepsake shot once the planting was completed.

They labored, and almost immediately they'll literally be reaping the fruits of those labors.

An excited group of YMCA of South Collier (Marco Y) afterschool students celebrated Earth Day recently by helping plant two citrus trees donated by Affordable Landscaping's Al Benarroch.

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The lemon and orange trees will grow within the Y's rekindled vegetable garden situated behind the Youth Development Center.

On hand for the more strenuous part of the digging were Benarroch and company supervisor Alex Hernandez, who then directed filling and smoothing operations by the kids themselves.

Young Earth Day enthusiasts get down to the business of filling in and smoothing out.

Before the planting, Youth Development Director Stephanie Pepper reminded the group that the orange is the State Tree.

“So, we're making history right here at the Y,” she said. “Those trees are going to be here for years to come, and we get to eat the fruit.”

Benarroch said the planting of trees symbolized Earth Day perfectly, and added that besides citrus he personally recommends native and drought resistant trees that include magnolia, live oak, mahogany, gumbo limbo and, of course, palms.

One of the Y afterschool students has her turn to help fill in a hole and smooth out soil.

Pepper, in thanking Benarroch and Hernandez for their efforts, said the day was even more special because the two men's own children had been through the Y afterschool program.

For more on the Y's wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit or call 394-YMCA (9622). Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco; on Facebook @marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.