A hardy rubber tree on the lawn of Hilliard City Schools' J.W. Reason Elementary School will remain there long after the third-graders who helped plant it have transitioned into adulthood.

Students helped plant the tree April 27 to observe Arbor Day in Hilliard.

The third-grade class was chosen to help plant the tree because the students studied local government this year, principal Jacki Prati said.

"Our kids had the opportunity to learn about the significance of Arbor Day and see our city government at work," she said.

Mayor Don Schonhardt and Drew Todd, the city forester, spoke to students.

Todd described the emerald ash borer, a type of beetle that has infected a large number of ash trees in the Midwest; many ash trees are being replaced.

Schonhardt read and presented a proclamation to Prati, recognizing Arbor Day and the significance of healthy trees in Hilliard.

All third-graders at the school placed a shovelful of dirt into a hole to start the process of planting the rubber tree.

"It was fun learning about trees and how the city replaces them," said Tyler Markewicz, 9.

Teacher Kelli Webb said she spoke to her students about Arbor Day, its origin and purpose and how Arbor Day activities benefit Earth's environment.