by Kaylee Dimock, Office of Sustainability
On Thursday, January 26th, the Office of Sustainability and Kreher Preserve & Nature Center hosted Plant Ahead: A Tree Planting Event with volunteers from the College of Forestry Wildlife and Environment as well as the community. In total, 63 workers and volunteers came together to plant over 350 native trees and hundreds of native grasses and forbs.
Spirits were high among the volunteers as many had never planted trees before. Some even placed pins on the map to come back and find their trees in the coming years. It was evident to see the effect of getting their hands in the dirt and working with the soil to put life in the ground. Often in the field of sustainability, the effects of the work we do, while important, are not seen immediately or even in our lifetime. However, planting seedings in the ground, visibly seeing the product of our work, and knowing the immediate and future effects that it will bring was almost spiritual.
Walking among the trees, laughing with the volunteers, and needing to jump on the top of a car to take the group photo because the group was so large was uplifting. We often forget to reside in nature as we go about our busy office and school lives. As I took photos, met new friends, jumped on dibbles, and planted trees and grass, I felt my soul and spirit lift. I am happy to say that I was not alone in this emotional response. As I walked through campus today, I heard another student telling her friend how amazing it was to make a tangible difference while showing her a photo of the tree she planted.
This event was special to me because not only did I feel that I was truly making a difference in the space I inhabited, but I felt a deep sense of community among people I had never met before. There is truly something special to be said for the way that sustainability actions bring people together. I saw a fire ignite in the volunteers that some had not experienced before, and I am certain they will continue to fan the flame of passion for the environment. So, when you feel overwhelmed in this crazy life we live, go outside, breathe in the air, and get your hands dirty. Oh, and be sure to call me so I can come too!
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