New Mexico first graders fight to save apple tree

RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) – To most people, the apple tree outside Sierra Vista Primary School in Ruidoso, may just look like an average tree. But to one first grade class at the school, it means a whole lot.

“We eat from this apple tree, we have our daily snacks, we go out and pick apples,” said the class’s teacher, Adriana Castro.

The classroom window actually faces the tree, so it’s a big part of their day. The school’s principal Jeremy Green said the students in Castro’s class feared construction for an expansion would mean the end of the apple tree.

“They were really worried about this tree,” said Principal Green.

Castro said her students drew inspiration from a Dr. Seuss book, The Lorax, which they were reading in class.

“Based on that story, it was speaking for the trees,” she said.

The students, who call themselves “Los Patitos” or “ducklings,” wrote a petition addressed to Principal Green with signatures from the students. They wrote it would be devastating if the tree they loved so much was taken down.

“We got to work with the students even more to hear their concerns and really see what this tree means to them,” said Green.

He said he then went to speak with the school district and the construction company, to try and save the tree. His efforts were a success.

“I got to go in and give that news to the children, huge cheers, lots of celebration, it was just a very touching moment,” he said.

The children said they’re thankful, being able to bring the fairy tale that inspired them to life, and also learning to stand up for what they believe in.

“Like the story says, be the voice for the trees, they’re learning how to be a voice for themselves,” said the principal.

Principal Green said in the new plans for the construction, they’ve been able to protect the tree, so it’s now out of harm’s way. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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