Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Learning is Fun!

Real Trees 4 Kids! Curriculum STILL a Great Resource After Many Years

We recently heard from a group of students working on a summer project thanking NCTA for the RT4K! curriculum, which they used for their research.

Here’s an excerpt: I wanted to email you on behalf of my AP Summer Bio group.  We really enjoyed you page, ... it helped us on our Ecosystems & Biome Final Project.  You have some great resources on there!  Ms. Willman (our group tutor) suggested we write to you to thank you, and tell you how helpful we found it.

That curriculum was developed by a professional curriculum designer as part of an NCTA project funded by RealTree Program donations many years ago.  While NCTA no longer has the funding to create updated / new material in the curriculum, it’s still maintained and available to teachers and students for free at

If you have school tours at your farm or business, or if you work with local schools at all, make sure they know that resource is still available and it’s still valuable.


Fake Plastic Trees May be Challenged in Court

For many, many years now, purveyors of plastic, tree-shaped decorations have claimed to consumers that their product was “fire retardant” or even “fire-proof” ….in stark contrast to a farm-grown Christmas Tree.  They used this message very effectively in marketing campaigns and printed the words on their products packaging.  If you scoff at how effective this message has been, consider that every time consumers were asked on the annual poll to list any reasons they chose not to decorate a fresh, farm-grown Christmas tree, the 2nd or 3rd most common reason listed has ALWAYS been “fire safety concerns.”  It’s just a reality now that many people won’t purchase a real Christmas tree because they are convinced that it could burst into flames.

And the flip side is, they purchase a plastic tree-shaped decoration in the belief that the words on the product’s box are true: they are flame retardant and won’t catch on fire.  Well, the reality is that plastic trees will in fact burn if exposed to a large enough heat source/flame.  Here’s an example of one that caught fire in 2011 in a school in Pennsylvania

NCTA was contacted by a law firm in the Southeast a few months ago which was filing a suit against a fake tree manufacturer for their claim that their product was fireproof, when it caught fire.  We don’t know the details of the incident or case in question yet, but know that NCTA is working with the plaintiffs as much as possible.

Again, it’s important to note that the funds to pay for this effort come from both the TIP program and RealTree donations.

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