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Taylor Elementary School first-graders Cristianna Hill, from left, Joshua Magallon, Adrian Espinoza, Terry McQuirter and Kayla Juarez pose with a tree they helped plant on the Santa Maria campus in honor of Arbor Week. 

First-grade students helped members of Santa Maria's Arbor Day committee plant a tree Thursday morning at Taylor Elementary School.

In collaboration with the Santa Maria-Bonita School District and recognition of the holiday, crews and students came together to plant trees at four elementary schools — Adam, Battles, Fairlawn and Taylor. During the planting ceremony, students heard a brief talk about trees, then completed a writing activity in their classrooms.

Ceremonial plantings help educate youth on the importance of Arbor Week and the benefits trees provide, according to a spokesman from the Recreation and Parks Department. 

In honor of the city's Arbor Week celebration, which runs through Wednesday, officials with the Recreation and Parks Department are encouraging residents to grab their shovels and plant a tree.

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Arbor Day, typically observed the last Friday in April, is moved up to early March in California to coincide with peak planting season.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga