LAWRENCE — Holding a tree with one hand and throwing soil from the hole in the ground with the other, Rico Montenegro made a basin for the tree's roots.
So began the first planting of 15 apple, pear and cherry trees at the corner of East Haverhill and Elm streets yesterday.
"I think they will do very well here because there's good lighting and decent soil," said Montenegro, shielding his eyes from the sun.
Groundwork Lawrence won the trees from The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation after that organization held an online contest.
"We plant these trees today with the intent that they will bear fruit to help feed those in need of fresh food in the city," said Heather McCann of Groundwork Lawrence.
"The Bodwell Orchard helps recall a time when Lawrence was dominated by orchards and agricultural fields and establishes a strong historic connection to Lawrence's historical past, of which the Bodwell family played a prominent role" McCann said. "It also supports the city's newest immigrants, many of whom have agricultural background."
During the ceremony, Mark Schorr, director of the Robert Frost Foundation, read the poem, "Tree at My Window," which Frost started writing while living in Lawrence and finished at his farm in Derry, N.H. Alcira Kane of Neighborhood Legal Services, read a translation of the poem in Spanish.
The ceremony was attended by residents of the North Common neighborhood, politicians, local leaders, members of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, and students from Notre Dame, Central Catholic and Lawrence high schools helped plant the trees.
"It feels good to give back to the community and help others," said Jose Casado, a freshman at Central Catholic.
Others like Gary Yancey and Vic Velez, both seniors at Notre Dame High School, talked about the fruits the trees will bear.