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By Sarah Parisien
Evanston Township High School is one of the 85 schools to be working with Tree-Plenish to plant trees in the community to foster sustainability in schools.
Tree-Plenish is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is “to create more sustainable schools by replenishing the environment with these lost resources.”
Each planting event involves a three-step process led by student mentors. In Evanston, it will take place during Earth Month, on April 24.
First, students calculate their high school’s approximate paper usage and come up with a target number they want to plant. For that information, student leader Maggie Finneran wrote to ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon and Principal Marcus Campbell to get information about paper usage at the high school. Each tree can approximately generate 10,000 pieces of paper, and Evanston’s goal is to plant 280 trees.
“The paper that ETHS uses during a normal school year is about … 5.8 million pieces, so we decided to try to replenish half of that to make it more of a reasonable goal,” said Maggie. “If few get beyond that, it would be awesome.”
In addition to Maggie, there are two other student mentors, Sarika Waikar and Mia Houseworth, both seniors at ETHS.
Next, members of the community either sign up to volunteer to plant trees on the day of the event or volunteer their yard to have a tree planted in it. The deadline to order a tree is on March 24 on the Tree-Plenish website made specifically for ETHS. If community members are not able to volunteer their time or yard, there is the option to donate to the organization.
“Right now we’re getting the word out to people to say, ‘Hey we’re doing this project. Would you be willing to have a tree planted in your yard?’ Later on in the process, we’re going to get volunteers of all ages to help us plant.” Maggie said.
The last step will be the event itself, where volunteers plant trees in the yards of residents who have requeste them. The organization has created guidelines to ensure the safety of its volunteers and participants in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anyone who wishes to learn more or request a tree can click here.