Oregon High School Students Plant Trees on Deschutes National Forest for Earth Day
To celebrate 2012 Earth Day, a group of Sisters High School biology students gave back to Mother Nature too, planting about 400 trees near Whychus Creek.
The students volunteered as part of our Tale of Two Rivers conservation campaign to restore the Metolius River and Whychus Creek.
“We really wanted to bring the high school group to this area that is notorious for misuse,” said Maret Pajutee, District Ecologist for the Sisters Ranger District. “We hope that today their efforts really invest them in this place and that they will start to care for it.”
In addition to tree planting, the group naturalized closed roads, working to blend them with the forest floor. We hope to limit destructive use with the road closures while protecting sensitive riparian zones and upland habitat. The new Whychus Creek trail invites recreationalists to explore while diverting them away from these fragile areas.
“With the trail and with this Earth Day event, we are trying to grow stewardship in the community for Whychus Creek,” Pajutee said. “Working with kids is such a great way to do that.”
“I thought it was really fun and would definitely do it again,” said biology student, Breanna Perry.
Perry and another student, Maddi Boettner, kept count of the trees they planted together throughout the day. The pair’s final count was 60 trees.
“It felt really rewarding to plant so many trees,” said Boettner.
“It’s so great to see kids like that,” said Gary Guttormsen of Sisters Trails Alliance, a partnering organization at the event. “The work they’ve done today really shows me that the future is in good hands,” Guttormsen continued.
Trout Unlimited was also on hand to support the Earth Day efforts. Together all the organizations and students made a visible impact, restoring multiple acres of habitat and planting and caging hundreds of trees.
Glen Herron was happy to have his students outside in celebration of Earth Day.
“I guess there’s three words that come to me when I think about Earth Day—sustainability, stewardship and appreciation,” said Herron. “It’s time we give back and it will pay down the road,” he told his students.