Students ready for second year of planting saplings to offset school's energy consumption

Clark-Shawnee students are learning ways they can make a difference.

What’s happening: Clark-Shawnee students are partnering with the nonprofit Tree-Plenish to help make their community more sustainable. They plan to plant 700 saplings on May 4, 2024, to offset their school’s energy consumption from the past academic year. This is the second annual Tree-Plenish event at Shawnee High School.

How it works: Tree-Plenish mentors students through a step-by-step process to achieve their ultimate goal — hosting their own tree-planting event to help offset the carbon their school emits in an academic year. With the help of Tree-Plenish, students calculate their school’s energy consumption to determine their sapling goal. The goal for this year’s event is to plant 700 saplings throughout Clark County. Reaching this goal will take the support and involvement of local residents.

Why it's important: "Knowing that our group actually gets to do something that will have an impact on our environment makes me feel important. I'm excited to work with our community and strive to build something better," says Kate Einink, Shawnee High School Class of 2024, and a student in the environmental class. Students began planning the 2024 event in the fall of 2023.

What's next: With the details and resources in place, the next few months will focus on marketing the event to residents and businesses who may be interested in purchasing a sapling. Students will also reach out to their community to recruit volunteers to help plant saplings on the day of the event. These events are a perfect opportunity for members of the community to connect and think about environmental sustainability in their community.

Students at work at the first Tree-Plenish event in 2023.Students at work at the first Tree-Plenish event in 2023.What they are saying: "As an educator, my goal is to nurture a sense of stewardship for the Earth and to inspire students to seek positive solutions to environmental challenges,” says Elizabeth Allen, Shawnee High School’s Environmental Science Teacher and advisor for the event. “While fully eliminating carbon emissions may be unrealistic, we can make a difference by offsetting our carbon footprint through actions like tree planting."

The role of residents: Residents of the community can help support the event starting now. Residents can order a sapling to be planted in their yard or sign up to volunteer to plant on the day of the event. Saplings are $5 and residents can choose between American sycamore, Sugar Maple, and Blue Spruce saplings. The last day to order a sapling is April 4, 2024. Residents can also make a monetary contribution through the Tree-Plenish website to help support future tree-planting events. 

The deadline to order a sapling: Thursday, April 4, 2024
Link to Order: Click here
Planting Day: Saturday, May 4, 2024

Why it's happening: “Last year, we didn’t know what to expect,” says Allen, Environmental Science Teacher and advisor for the event. “For our first event, if we sold any trees I would have been excited. But, our community showed up! We sold a little over 300 saplings. It was an amazing experience. The volunteers really enjoyed planting and convinced me that we should try again. We are hoping to make it an annual project.”

A sustainable future: Tree-Plenish is a student-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to empower students to create a more sustainable and equitable future through community tree planting. Together with students from Clark-Shawnee, Tree-Plenish hopes to drive Clark County toward a sustainable future.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.