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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Sycamore High School, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Sycamore High School, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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Registered: May 2008
City/Town/Province: Cincinnati
Posts: 3
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This year the stars of environmentalism aligned so that Earth Day and Arbor Day were right next to each other! We of Sycamore High School Environmental Club took full advantage of this super block of environmental festivity. We began Earth Day by traveling to school by bus, shovels in hand. People assume the worst when they witness someone walking towards them with a large shovel. The look on my bus driver’s face was of sheer terror but was immediately assuaged when I announced, “Happy Earth Day! We’re going to plant trees today!” There was an immediate response of excitement from another environmental club member on my bus. I got off the bus and walked into the crowded hallways of my high school. Shovels at school seem to have a shocking effect. People immediately stop talking and stare at you subconsciously deciding on fight or flight—“HAPPY EARTH DAY EVERYBODY! WHO WANTS TO PLANT TREES?” Immediate cheers.

…People really like trees.

At lunch we gave away 280 free tree seedlings to the student body. This is a tradition that occurs at the elementary schools in our school district, but never the high school. After I had handed out the first few pine trees, there was a sudden uproar to get a tree. The kids were really sentimental about the tree that they received in elementary school. I don’t blame them. Planting a tree is one of those consummating activities that speaks to our place on this Earth and development as a person.

We educated out peers on how pine trees are the best for sequestering carbon because they conduct photosynthesis year round. We also advised them on the best place to plant their tree to minimize heating and cooling costs on their home. Bridging the gap between environmentalism and pragmatism is what turns people over to the “‘green’ side.” I witnessed a lot of convinced faces; they knew they were doing something that made sense and something that would make a difference. They realized how very important planting that one pine tree was. We believe that the more we involve our students in our initiatives, the more likely they are to continue green lives.

My shovel seemed to be a good marketing tactic, so I carried it around all day. A group of twenty kids with shovels showed up to plant twenty trees after school! We got ready to plant our dogwoods, tupelos, and oaks. We persuaded all of the boys who were 99% biceps to dig the holes. We then planted the trees and watered. In the end our feet were slathered in mud, our cheeks were sore from laughing, and our trees were planted. I feel that we have initiated a tree conscious legacy, a mindset, really, at the school.

While walking through the campus with my friends, they have said to me, “There’s a lot of empty space right here.”

“Yes, there is.”

“Someone should plant some trees here…No wait! I will plant a tree here.”

We have instilled a mindset that encourages not only environmental conscience, responsibility, but most importantly, individual action. This paves the way to progress, ecological cooperation, and lasting impact.

The environmental super block was complete, but we thought we might share a few things we learned in the process.

Morals of the Story: Shovels are effective at more than digging. Trees sequester lots of carbon and purify the air. Planting brings people together. Kids are the best place to start educating people about the environment. We bring an unparalleled optimism for a green future… And we really like mud.
· Date: June 9, 2008 · Views: 8723 · File size: 29.9kb, 59.7kb · : 640 x 480 ·
Hours Volunteered: 196
Volunteers: 28
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15 to 18
Native Trees Planted: 300
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