Planting “Gincy’s Tree” would never, never have been needed in the children’s lifetimes except for the March 2012 tornado whose winds toppled a towering 100-year-old tree that once stood on the spot.
Allan and Janie Jones donated the maple tree to the first-grade class in the name of their granddaughter, Gincy Pendergrass.
Yates Principal Carolyn Ingram said planting the tree was a good lesson for the young students who are growing up in a time when many trees are being cut down and not being replaced.
“I just think this is a wonderful experience for children to realize the part they can have in planting trees. We teach conservation and the importance of nurturing and taking care of trees, and what all trees can do for us in the classroom.”
Allan Jones said the donation was made with future generations in mind.
“These young boys and girls will grow up and do great things in the world, but they can always look back on this maple as their tree,” Jones said. “The tree will be here many years from today — even when these students have children of their own. This is an historic day and we are glad that the students were so excited to be a part of the event.”
Tree philanthropy is not new to Jones. The businessman and philanthropist has donated hundreds of trees on Cleveland streets over the years and more than 300 trees on school campuses.
Jones authored Cleveland’s tree ordinance and helped create the Cleveland Shade Tree Board, which was designated as the Tennessee Tree Board of the Year in 2011.
The Jones Foundation typically limits its donations to trees that will be used to cool down pavement by shading asphalt on streets and sidewalks. An exception was made for the Yates donation.
Jones said his mission is to “keep Cleveland cool for future generations.”