"I planted a tree," 5-year-old Sam Schulz proudly declared.
He hadn't actually placed a seed in the ground yet, but the budding arborist had – with the help of a volunteer at the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania in Chestnut Hill – placed a seed for a dawn redwood inside a plastic cup.
Sam was one of about two- dozen children and parents who attended the arboretum's 26th annual Tu B'Shevat festival, held several days after the actual holiday on Feb. 19. All activities were held indoors, due partly to the brisk weather.
Face-painting and tree-ring counting were on the agenda. The children also got to enjoy a performance by puppeteer Steve Abrams, who showed them how to make puppets out of paper bags and stuffed animals.
"We're in a beautiful garden with all these trees and plants," Abrams said to one of his furry creations.
Meanwhile, Sam's mother, Joan Schulz of Rosemont, said they did indeed have the space to plant the seedling, which could one day grow to be 70 feet tall, in their yard.
Sam promised to water and care for the tree, but, suddenly veering from the expected, also mentioned that he might have to chop it down someday.
Laughing, Schulz's mother chimed in and explained – even on this holiday of trees – that they recently did just that, and cut down a dying tree on their property.