Lino Lakes Elementary celebrates science focus

Mary Bailey
Community Editor

It’s hard to stump Lino Lakes Elementary students about fruit.  No matter what questions Rico Montenegro of the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation asked, most of the kids knew the answers.

Rico Montenegro of the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation calls himself “a modern-day Johnny Appleseed.” At a festive gathering in the lunchroom on Oct. 4, Montenegro told the students at Lino Lakes Elementary that some apple trees can live more than 200 years. (Photo by Mary Bailey)

Is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit, botanically speaking? What do the roots contribute to the plant? Besides fruit, what do trees give to humans?

Students, teachers and guests celebrated the second year of Lino Lakes as a STEM school by participating in an educational presentation on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Guests included Lino Lakes mayor Jeff Reinert, school district superintendent Linda Madsen, school board members Gail Theisen, Karen Morehead, and Kathy Bystrom, and representatives of both U.S. senators from Minnesota.

Many students knew that plants give oxygen to the air, but Nick Ely also knew that plants use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis. (Photo by Mary Bailey)

Dan Solomon, representing Senator Al Franken, told the audience that 16 of the 20 fastest-growing jobs in Minnesota require STEM skills.

Students from grades 4, 5, and 6 assisted in the presentation. Dane DuPaul led the pledge of allegiance. Isabella Wyzykowski, Shyla Baird, William Pelto and Rebecca Leroux read quiz questions.

From fruits, Montenegro said, we get important vitamins and minerals, plus a drink to satisfy our thirst: fruits are up to 90 percent water. Health experts recommend 4 to 5 servings a day.

On Saturday, Oct. 6, Lino Lakes celebrants planted 20 three-year-old apple, cherry, apricot, and pear trees, plus blueberry bushes, in the community orchard.