Students Dig Greening up Their City

Putting a little muscle into planting a swamp white oak are, clockwise from lower left, Josue Shyaka, Alex Diaz-Silverthorn, Margaret Miller and Dan Miller

District students are growing their city’s green canopy, one tree at a time.

Make that dozens of trees at a time. Students from Union High and Westwood Middle recently planted 48 trees on their adjacent campuses, as part of a “Planting for Our Future” citywide campaign. The Urban Forest Project, a partnership between GRPS and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, aims to help the city increase its tree cover by about 10 percent.

Students Go Green: A Special Issue for Earth Day, April 22
Students Go Green: A Special Issue for Earth Day, April 22

Students from several GRPS schools have been planting trees on their property for the past two years.

Close to 160 trees have been planted so far, and a grant has been submitted to the U.S. Forest Service to continue for the next two years, said Margaret Miller, director of the Urban Forest Project.

Besides greening up the city, Miller said the project aims to “expose the students of Grand Rapids to nature and forestry, (and) to help them have a hands-on experience so they can be better land stewards.”

The project is funded in part by a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, funding for which is eliminated in President Trump’s proposed budget as part of a $2.6 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Students worked in small groups to plant trees on the grounds of Westwood Middle and Union High schools
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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