Students to receive tree for Earth Day

Students to receive tree for Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day, which is on Saturday, April 22, each student and staff member in SD83 will be receiving a tree to take home and plant. It is hoped that each of them will take the conifer tree plug, plant it, and help it flourish!

The trees are being donated by the Forest Nursery Association of British Columbia (FNABC) and arranged by Kalamalka Forestry Research Station.  They are “over runs” from seedlings grown by nurseries around B.C. for reforestation. Various community groups and schools have been involved in the program for over 17 years.  Local schools been involved in the past, however this year, SD83 will receive 7,600 seedlings so EVERY student and staff in SD83 can have a seedling to take home and plant on Earth Day.

In SD83 the school Green Teams, the Shuswap Environmental Educators Professional Specialist Association (SHEEPSA), Ceren Caner’s grade 4/5 class from South Canoe, principals, and directors are all pitching in to get the trees organized, sorted, and sent home!

One of the organizers is Kim Fulton, an environmental educator as well as a retired teacher and principal, who comments the trees are a living symbol of many things, including stewardship of the land and hope for the future. There can never be too many trees!

He adds trees are amazing and do many things for the earth including cool the environment, give oxygen, reduce carbon dioxide, stabilize soil, and are a home for wildlife.

“We are calling it Trees for Hope because we believe that planting trees is one of the most effective ways individuals can help mitigate the effects of climate change and feel good about it. Over the years, I have never seen anyone not feel good about planting a tree.”

He said he was racking his brain trying to think of ways to get everyone, especially middle and high school students, engaged and involved with this program. He came up with a bunch of ideas including:

“Be Cool and Plant A Tree,” This is true he said. Trees, particularly in urban environments, where trees and vegetation lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade and through evapotranspiration. Shaded surfaces, for example, may be 11 to 25°C cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials.

“Plant a tree and plant hope for the future!” This too is true. Fulton adds planting trees is one of the most effective ways individuals can help mitigate the effects of climate change and feel good about it! As students and citizens we need to work together to do positive things to look after the earth for future generations, not only future generations of people but future generations of all living things.  We all need to reduce our personal footprints on the earth and reduce consumption.  Planting trees and looking after them is one small thing we can all do to help ecosystem earth.

“Give the Gift of Oxygen.” Then he thought perhaps showing how much oxygen a tree produces would inspire students. One mature tree can produce enough oxygen for yourself and three friends for one year. It is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA that ONE mature tree produces enough oxygen for four people for one year. 7600 X 4 = 30,400 people for a year, which is enough oxygen for a small city such as Armstrong, Enderby, Salmon Arm, and Sicamous!

“Trees take Carbon Dioxide out of the air without any cost!” Fulton said with all of the carbon talk, trees are a natural solution. Trees also sequester carbon from the air through photosynthesis both above and below the ground. Not only that, they can help reduce flooding by stabilizing soils and acting like sponges to slow water release.

But mostly, added Fulton, he wants students to plant the trees and help them grow because it is good for the Earth and humanity. “It is the right thing to do.

“Stop the rant and plant, plant, plant.” Fulton urges everyone concerned about the environment and climate change to please make a difference by planting trees and helping them grow.

“The school district is very grateful for the hard work of Kim “Dr. Fish” Fulton, who is a retired SD83 Principal and a tireless advocate for promoting and supporting environmental stewardship. One of the benefits of an initiative like “Trees for Hope” is that it provides an opportunity for positive action. We all have a responsibility to protect the environment and through this community, SHEEPSA, and school district collaboration, SD83 students and staff have fantastic opportunity to celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree and planting hope for our future,” adds Director of Instruction Jen Findlay.