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Trees with Acadian roots planted on local school grounds

TRURO – It’s like a little bit of home has come, well, home.

École acadienne de Truro has two special trees on its grounds these days. The willow trees have been cloned from those at Grand Pré National Historic Site of Canada. Showing off one of the trees are, from left, Grade 5 student Lee Gilbert, principal Anne Bastarache, Grade 5 student Joshua Benoit, and DeAnne Pelchat, school and community development agent. Raissa Tetanish – Truro Daily News

That’s because two willow trees now have a home on the grounds of École acadienne de Truro. Trees that were cloned from willow trees at Grand Pré National Historic Site of Canada.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Anne Bastarache, principal of the school, about having the trees donated to be planted. “I love willow trees and when Andrew Williams told me they wanted to donate some of these trees to us, tears came to my eyes. I couldn’t believe it.”

The trees, according to school and community development agent DeAnne Pelchat, have been cloned through the works of Carol Goodwin at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus’ environmental sciences department. Two trees were dropped off last week, with Williams, the town’s urban forestry co-ordinator, planting them for the school.

“Those are my roots,” said Bastarache. “In the 1700s, my ancestors would have been there.”

Pelchat said the trees are settling in nicely and they’ll tie in well with the plans created for a community park.

“It’s nice to have a little bit of home here,” said Pelchat. “They’re enabling us in making a stronger link to the area. Grand Pré is known as the capital of Acadian heritage here in Nova Scotia and we’re having a piece here. Our francophone population is booming and growing, and this brings us closer together with these trees.

“We may be far apart in distance, but they’re closer to our hearts.”

The trees were planted at the base of the hill, on the left hand side when entering the school grounds. They are in the same area where a willow tree was planted on Arbor Day three years ago.

With plans to create a new community park, Pelchat said there may be more willow trees, however not clones, incorporated into the space.

“They help contain water – they are very succulent trees, but we probably wouldn’t have clones because they are so small,” Pelchat said. “We would need something a little bigger in high traffic areas.”

With not all the staff and students aware of the significance of the trees yet, Bastarache said excitement is building.

“They are just in awe,” she said about reactions when people are given the news of where they originated. “When I explained to some students, their jaws just dropped.”

For Grade 5 students Lee Gilbert and Joshua Benoit, the cloned trees are a neat idea.

“Cool,” said Lee.

“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome,” added Joshua.

Twitter: TDNRaissa

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