Trees removed to make way for a construction project are being replaced, thanks to a group of enterprising elementary school kids.
According to a story by Ashley Ford published in the Waxahachie Daily Light (Texas) and posted on Waxahatchie.com, a group of fifth-graders at LaRue Miller Elementary in Midlothian called the “Biofighters” approached the Planning and Zoning board with questions about the tree ordinance and what they could do to protect trees. Next, they attended a city council meeting where they requested permission to donate replacement trees.
“The neighborhoods used to be a lot smaller, and there were more trees, which was nice because you had shade and would get to play all the time without getting hot,” one of the students, Kaiden Day, told Ford. “But now, on the road over here, it used to be all trees, and they’ve all been torn down.”
The kids are doing this as a service learning project that’s part of an international competition they’re participating in called Destination Imagination, designed to encourage innovation, teamwork and creative problem-solving. Teams choose one of seven open-ended STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics)-based challenges, and then plan, create and present their solutions.
The group partnered with local landscape company Earthtones Greenery whose employees provided a tour of the business and taught the students about the benefits of trees. Biofighter Wyatt Butterworth told the reporter he learned that two fruit trees need to be planted together so they can cross-pollinate. Lowe’s in Waxahachie also donated a large box of seeds.
The team first met in October to brainstorm the master plan. A priority was placed on planting fruit trees, as team member Paxton Day noted that about 50 students from each campus struggle daily to pay for food. “We want to help those children out,” he told Ford. Fellow Biofighter Jordan Rivera added, “People can’t pay for their food because they are poor, so they could pick an apple or orange off the tree,”
The trees will be planted by the students and their community partners by Feb. 23, the day of the first round of competition.
“Trees prevent floods, they catch a lot of the water, they are also great for picnics because they provide a lot of shade and they provide oxygen and reduces ADHD,” Paxton Day was reported as saying.
Team member Ashley Guffey told Ford that the most exciting part of the project was when the group spoke to city leaders. “All of the experiences we’ve had together as a team at Earthtones and at the city council was really fun. It’s not every day that you get to do that.”