Students plant lasting change
Students from earth and space science classes at De Anza ninth Grade Academy plant a Chilean mesquite tree during an IVROP tree planting project in Calexico on Wednesday. (SERGIO BASTIDAS PHOTO / May 23, 2013)
The project was facilitated through the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program’s Environmental Education Program and served as a follow-up to classes by De Anza earth and space science teacher Carmina Taylor.
“I’m all about reinforcing classroom lessons in a hands-on activity,” IVROP Environmental Technician Ivan Soto said. “The cool thing is they wind up talking about this in class and then they get to actually do it and provide for the next generation.”
The students not only learned about the utilitarian and aesthetic advantages of trees but also about the impacts of trees on the environment.
Taylor said many students have been surprised to learn that having more trees has been found to reduce crime in communities, make people generally happier and reduce air-quality related issues such as asthma.
“They care very much about the climate and climate change so they feel like they’re contributing to the environment,” she said. “There’s days with very bad air quality here, and they feel they can help by planting trees which clean toxins and particulates in the air.”
Five classes each planted a Chilean mesquite tree along one of the athletic fields that stand mostly barren otherwise.
“For most of my students it’s the first time for them to plant trees and it’s amazing,” Taylor said.
De Anza students Ivanna Ibarra and Jesus Moreno were all smiles after they finished planting their tree Thursday. They agreed that it was hard but fun to plant the trees provided by IPG Nursery.
“We planted it because we need shade at the school and it gives us a lot of other benefits. It was really cool,” Ibarra said. “It gives us fresh air. It also makes the school prettier. I felt good about it.”
The program is funded both through IVROP and the Imperial Irrigation District.
Soto explained that the program is offered free to schools as well as other organizations with an educational component such as Boy Scouts.
“The whole point is not only that it’s fun, but it will also spark interest for students who might be interested in environmental science,” he added.
Those interested in the program can call IVROP at 760-312-6620 or email email@example.com
Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org