At this point in history, when Planet Earth has few–if any–pristine ecosystems left to conserve, and virtually every natural area is in need of some level of restoration, it’s important to inculcate a restorative mindset in young people.
They need to understand that we can go beyond the usual sustainability efforts that seek to reduce the amount of new damage we do; that we can actively restore existing damage left by previous generations. Accompanied by the right message, even the planting of a single native tree can go along way towards inspiring young people to leave the world better than they found it.
Volunteers and teachers work annually to ensure the fifth-grade students at Oak Forest Elementary School in Houston, Texas continue the tradition of planting an oak tree in memory of years spent at their school and to “reforest the Forest,” said Debbie Krenek, president of the Oak Forest Growers Organization.
This year focused on a rare oak tree originating from the Chisos Mountains.
Choosing an oak tree to plant is a tough job, according to Gudun Opperman, director of the organization, but because she is a Texas Master Gardner and native plant expert, she is able to identify which oak trees will survive.
“We’ve lived her for 30 some years, but we kind of get around the community and somebody will say ‘Oh, you’re the growers. Those were the best times in my whole school career,’” Gudrun said.