On Saturday, April 16, 2022, Dover High School’s sustainability club, Earth Action, held a long-anticipated event in collaboration with the national non-profit Tree-Plenish. Tree-Plenish works with students from schools all across the country to help them organize and execute the delivery of free saplings across their local community in an effort to offset some of the paper that their school uses annually.
The leadership of Dover High’s Earth Action; Jill Covey, Finn Graff, Ethan Boodey, and Izzy Papa, spearheaded the planning of this event beginning in October of 2020. It was a multi-step process. First, the organization found local sponsors to pay for the trees so that community members could get saplings free of charge. This was done through community outreach, social media, and member contributions. Around $500 was raised, so 100 free trees were made available to any community members who wanted them. Once the money was acquired, the date of the event and type of saplings could be decided on. The team decided on April 16 because they needed time to set all the moving parts of this event into place. They then had to research the species of saplings that would best support local biodiversity and contribute to a greener Dover area and ultimately decided that Red Maple, Pin Oak, and American Sycamores would be their best options. From there, ordering saplings was open to the public. 126 trees were ordered (60 Red Maples, 40 American Sycamores, and 26 Pin Oaks). The order form was shared within the group and on social media, with great support from locals. The final step in the process was finding volunteers. Members of both Earth Action and DHS’s Key Club were present to volunteer on the day of the event!
On that Saturday, the team set up in their school parking lot and got to meet all of the wonderful people who ordered saplings face-to-face, as they picked them up to bring home. There were also 4 groups of volunteers tasked with planting the saplings at the homes of other community members. One of the volunteers, DHS junior Alivia Borros, had this to say about her experience; “Being able to give back to the environment around us and be face-to-face with our community members was very special. It is one thing to put effort into Earth Action on a high school level and find ways to help within DHS, but it’s a different experience altogether to see how we can impact the wider community and make the rest of the world a more sustainable place.”
But what inspired the students to take on such a big event? “Our club members were super enthusiastic previously in the year about doing community service, then we were presented with the opportunity to work with Tree-Plenish and it ended up working out great! We feel that we have such a great community in and outside our school and that it is our responsibility to make sure everyone has an enjoyable environment to be in in the future, so we took full advantage.” says club officer Ethan Boodey. Earth Actions' other major event so far this year was their clothing swap, which gave students an opportunity to donate their old clothes rather than just throwing them away. After being donated, the clothing was offered up for any students to bring home for free so that they could give them a second life, rather than ending up in landfills. Many other schools have followed suit and recently executed similar events, so the DHS students are hoping to inspire local students once again, to make the seacoast a little bit greener.
If you’re interested in planning a Tree-Plenish event at your school check out their website here.