Canton Elementary students look on as Nissan officials plant pecan trees on Earth Day.
Canton Elementary students look on as Nissan officials plant pecan trees on Earth Day.
On Monday, Nissan of Canton teamed up with local children to commemorate Earth Day in what Nissan officials called "a teachable moment for recycling."

Nissan and Canton Parks and Recreation worked together to involve members of the community in the tree planting ceremony in which small pecan trees were planted in various parks throughout the city.

As a part of their on-going 10th anniversary celebration, Nissan's Environmental/Energy Team (E-Team), an employee-led group that helps to implement ideas for energy savings, waste reduction, and recycling initiatives inside the Nissan vehicle assembly plant, were excited to teach the community about recycling initiatives. According to Nissan spokesperson Camille Young, celebrating Earth Day by educating local youth about recycling is a great way to get kids interested in green initiatives.

"Nissan has been doing all kinds of activities similar to these on different occasions throughout the year. Earth Day is just something we do like to celebrate because recycling is so important at our company and we want to publicize that to the greater community," Young said. "We chose (elementary children) because this is the age where they go home and they tell their parents, grandparents or whoever things that they have learned and I think we can make difference for the future generations when we start at this age. I guarantee that they will go home today with the information that they received here and they will tell their families about it and they will start some form of recycling in their own homes."

Children gathered around as the first tree was planted in Anderson Park, and volunteers explained the stages of growth the tree will go through and how important vegetation is for future generations. Volunteers also answered questions as curious hands popped up wanting to know more information about how to recycle and other ways they could help take care of the earth.

Nissan employees Corey Garner and Claude Potter, both said it was important to teach the recycling initiatives they enact inside the plant to others in hopes that more people will take action on preserving the environment.

"In planting these trees, it symbolizes growth, not only in the community but these kids as well.

The things that we do in Nissan, the recycling options that we have in our area, the initiatives that we take inside the plant, it's important that we spill over into the community and to show everyone else how important it is. We make a stamp on preserving our environment in hopes that they will do the same," Garner said.

"The more information the kids have - like planting these trees and recycling - it's always a good thing to pass on so we can keep it going on for years and years. We started at the plant by recycling and you carry it home with you. So, if you keep doing it at the plant and then you go home and do it, then you're passing it on to your kids and they pass it along to somebody else and it's just a revolving door there," Potter added.

Other E-Team accomplishments have ranged from establishing a fund to donate to local charities through recycling aluminum cans, to implementing Adopt-A-Highway on a two mile stretch in front of the Nissan plant in Canton.

On Wednesday, Nissan officials announced a significant contribution to the Canton Public School District would be made on April 25 that would fund a new education program in Canton elementary schools. The contribution would also benefit the Canton Career Center, a program that prepares high school students for successful careers in automotive service technology, collision repair, and other fields.