Working together for the good of the community, Osage Beach Parks and Recreation (OBPR) and School of the Osage High School science students teamed up Tuesday to plant three trees at Peanick Park in observance of National Arbor Day.

Working together for the good of the community, Osage Beach Parks and Recreation (OBPR) and School of the Osage High School science students teamed up Tuesday to plant three trees at Peanick Park in observance of National Arbor Day.

Students of Shawn Fowler spent nearly an hour planting, listening to speakers and learning about the benefits trees can bring to a community.

"We're constantly trying to better our community by planting trees," Matt Vandevoort, Park Manager, explained to the students. "They provide clean air, shade and beautification."

Students also listened intently to Community Forester, Ann Koenig, of the Missouri Department of Conservation as she explained the differences between native and non-native trees to the area. Koenig also pointed out new research studies which show many health benefits from our leaf filled friends.

"Research shows that people driving through tree-filled areas are less likely to have road rage and office workers who can view trees out of their windows have fewer sick days,"

Koenig explained. Koenig also encouraged the students to look into the field of forestry if they love being outdoors, due to the decline in qualified candidates to fill some of the conservation's open positions.

"It's a great career to consider and Mizzou has an incredible forestry program, which happens to be the only one in the state of Missouri," Koenig explained.

OBPR Parks Tech II, Ryan White, was also on hand to help students plant the oak and gum trees around the park.

Osage Beach High School students are no strangers to helping the park which sits quietly next to their campus. Last year, the football team helped out by painting the dugouts and restroom building.

Coach and teacher, Shawn Fowler, was happy to bring his classroom outdoors on such a sunny day to learn outside of the regular school setting.

Efforts are currently being made for Osage Beach to become part of the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA program, which 3,400 towns and cities across the United States have joined since its inception in 1976. The concept of the program is to provide necessary framework for communities to enhance and expand their public trees.

So far over 50 trees have been planted in Osage Beach City Park and Peanick Park over the last year, with more to come. Other changes at Peanick will include a new pavilion, new basketball court and new dugouts; with new paving around the batting cages.

To obtain Tree City USA status, cities must meet certain standards. There must be a tree board or department legally responsible for the care of all trees on city-owned property. A tree care ordinance must provide policy, and a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita must be established to ensure an investment to tree health and sustainability. An Arbor Day observance and proclamation must be made for citizens to gather and celebrate the benefits of community trees.