Fighting Poverty with Passion
Winter is coming to a close in the forest and that means it is tree-planting time! The end of February marked our first tree planting with the Seeds to Saplings students from Phoenix High School. The classes from Belle Chasse Primary and Harriet Tubman Charter School came out for their service days in March. The tree planting fulfills the service component of the Seeds to Saplings program.
During the last field trip the students crafted cards inviting local elected officials to attend their tree planting days. This teaches the students to become advocates for their community and gives them an opportunity to show their representatives that they care about environmental issues despite being unable to vote. We have been overwhelmed by the response of these elected officials and the students are so excited to share what they’ve learned. Some of the elected officials even got in the mud to help plant saplings, despite being fully dressed in suits.
We cleared out plots on the trail for the students to plant in, but every group finished their plot and wanted to keep going. We ended up needing to have more sites cleared for the last two field trips, and those groups filled those plots in record time!
The best part of the field trip was listening to the students make connections between what they’ve learned in the classroom and the service activity at Woodlands. They remembered significantly more than I expected about the problems with invasive species and the importance of replanting native vegetation for wildlife and the community. One of the teachers from Belle Chasse Primary even made a video of her students hard at work during their field trip.
Now that the plantings are over, we have time to turn our attention to applying for the grant to fund Seeds to Saplings for the 2017-2018 school year. After working on the program for the past two years, I’m excited to make a few changes and possibly incorporate new activities.