By Shannon Muchmore
Tulsa, OK (December 28, 2009)- A small group of Holland Hall ninth-graders arranged the planting of more than 1,000 trees this year in their effort to show that a few people can make a difference in helping the environment. The 15-year-old students, along with their science teacher from the previous year, talked to nonprofit executives, business leaders and government agencies as they spent many weekends planting 5- to 6-foot trees throughout the Tulsa area.
“We’ve just realized that the need is present,” said Connor Cass, one of the student organizers. Cass’ partners in the project are Mike Barton and Caroline Adelson. The students also blogged about their project, called GreenTree, and created a Facebook page to reach out to the community.
About 375 of the trees were planted at various Tulsa Housing Authority sites. Trees came from Up With Trees, with the help of a recent grant. The students also gave about 600 saplings to children in Holland Hall Primary School and taught them the importance of recycling and other steps to help the environment. “We’ve definitely learned a lot of life lessons,” Cass said.
The project began in July in response to a challenge by Polar Bears International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to polar bear conservation. The students brought the idea of planting trees to a teacher, and it grew from there, said Brenda Parker, the teacher and adviser. The effort grew larger than Parker ever expected, she said. “I was so proud of them,” she said. “They really have learned how to work together.”
Barton agreed that the experience helped him with working in a group. He said he learned that doing something to help the environment is easier than it sounds. “It seems like we should keep going,” he said. “As we get more people informed about this, it’s going to get easier.”
Cass said the group does plan to continue its work. He and others are also considering work with communications companies on phonebook recycling. They will also probably begin a club at school dedicated to similar efforts, he said.
Parker’s other classes got in on the work as well. They each helped plant trees and spent class time talking about current events related to climate change, she said. “We are living in a high-tech era,” she said. “Getting them to get excited about digging a hole and planting a tree is great.”
Up With Trees
Tulsa World- Rooting for the environment- Hundreds of trees are planted