The Crete Public Schools moved the Junior/Senior High School to its present site in 1976. At that time only a few pine and green ash trees were at the site. Mildred Conkling, a sixth grade teacher, and Mike Coe, a Sr. High Biology Teacher, both felt the need for an environmental project for their students. Mrs. Conkling had developed a plan where her students would recycle newspaper and aluminum and then purchase trees to be planted at the Senior High so the students could watch their growth through graduation. Mike Coe had developed a plan whereby his classes recycled aluminum to purchase trees for the school ground. At the Fall Science in-service in 1978 they decided to work together on the project.
Plans for the tree plantings were drawn up by Campbells Nursery, with Carl Pett in charge. He developed the master plan which the high school students used to make a scale model. This scale model was made by a group called the "Student Spokesmen" out of all throw-away materials. This model was then used to show how the school grounds would someday look to the school board and various community groups. Students were used to make these presentations. Much support was gained for the project. The end result being the school board adopting the plan and planting began in the spring of 1979.
The arboretum will include nearly every kind of tree and shrub that grows in Nebraska and the area will function as a teaching tool as well as a park. About 36 kinds of trees will be planted and the number of each type planted will range from one to 18. Citizens who are interested in donating a tree to the school should contact the high school at 826-5811.