Did you know that if you stacked 850,000 sheets of paper, the stack would be taller than the Statue of Liberty? The passionate students of the Ecology and Wildlife Club at Whitney High School know this quirky piece of information because that’s exactly how much paper their school used during the 2018-19 school year. Motivated to take action, the Ecology and Wildlife Club took on the challenge of planting trees to offset the paper that the school consumes to fight global warming and stop the climate crisis.
This year, the students from Whitney aim to sell at least 110 Gala apple trees to offset Whitney High School’s paper usage and create a healthier community. The sale will run through February 13th and customers will be able to pick up their tree(s) at a socially distanced drive-thru event at Whitney High School on March 13th. Currently, the Gala apple trees are priced at $7.30 – a 25% discount – and supply is limited! To purchase a tree, please visit: www.tree-plenish.org/whitney. For more information, refer to the club’s FAQ: www.tinyurl.com/whstrees.
“Fighting climate change starts with the little things we do. Planting a tree, for example, can go a long way toward reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, while providing cleaner air and water, and adding beauty to our homes,” said Sriya Kotta, 11th grader and co-leader of the campaign.
As a service to the Cerritos community, the Whitney’s Ecology and Wildlife Club is partnering with two non-profits, Tree-Plenish and Grades of Green, to host an online tree sale. Trees are critical to maintaining a clean and livable temperature for our planet, as they absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and can store it safely in their roots, branches, and trunks for decades. The student’s project has the potential to remove 220,000 pounds of CO2 over the lifespan of the trees they distribute!
This is the fourth Grades of Green Campaign that the Ecology and Wildlife Club has undertaken to spread awareness and enact environmental change in the local communities. They have organized projects to compost food waste on campus, constructed an eight-foot model of an ocean wave from plastic water bottles to represent the effects of single-use plastics on marine habitats, and developed a curriculum to educate elementary school students on the dangers of plastic pollution.
Tree-Plenish is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to create more sustainable schools by replenishing the number of trees used to satisfy each school’s paper requirements. Tree-Plenish events are planned by student leaders. Leaders determine the number of trees they want to plant in their community. This figure is based on the amount of paper their school uses. Once the number of trees to be planted is determined, they plan and advertise the event, and anyone in the community can sign up to either volunteer as a tree planter on the day of the event or request to have a tree planted in their yard (or plant trees themself).