Give Trees a Chance
Richmond Hill, ON
Your donation to this project will be matched 3:1 by Small Change Fund, EcoSpark and The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation!
The goal of our project is to have 100 trees planted by 100 classes who have had a chance to reflect and think about the issues that humankind faces today while deepening their connection to our friends in local First Nations, Métis and Inuit Communities.
What is the problem?
Our school lies at the edge of the Greenbelt and therefore is affected by high traffic and dense urban populations. Not only would the project contribute to the Greenbelt movement, but would also deter noise and create a greener space with shade. We hope that birdlife will return to the area and that natural habitats begin to emerge. This area will honour the reconciliation we seek with our friends of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Communities.
How will you solve it?
Planting an abundance of trees around the periphery of the school, mainly near the pond and local stream area at the far east end of the school grounds.
We will be working with individuals/groups from First Nations, Métis and Inuit Communities who have already been giving workshops for teachers and students over the past 7 years at our school. We now want to deepen our relationship. In some ways, planting trees represents the birth and nurturing of new life together.
The proposed project is called “Give Trees A Chance’ (to the tune of John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’). Teachers and their classes would be invited to plant trees around the periphery of the school. Each class would ‘make a wish’ or a statement about or for the environment that would be engraved on a pewter plaque inside our school.
We have been working on integrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives across the curriculum and hold a number of workshops at various times of the year, but especially during Earth Week, around social issues and environmental issues affecting the First Nations communities as well as learning about their perspectives in relation to the environment. Speakers from these communities have provided workshops for teachers as well as for students. Part of our initiatives is also to develop a deeper understanding of the history of the First Nations communities and begin to take action to develop partnerships and more meaningful and enduring relationships with each other.
As part of the tree planting initiative, we would like to have an outdoor ceremony with a local First Nations community to provide an opening and share the day with us. The trees would be planted in their honour symbolizing renewal, reconciliation, and the birth of positive relationships now and for the future.
We cultivate and nurture the earth as it nurtures us, thus nurturing each other’s wellbeing and inner peace.
We will need at least 100 trees, possibly more, to fully complete this project and to allow an opportunity for most classes to take part. We want to make sure that we use trees that are large enough that they would not be destroyed by lawnmowers or grass trimmers. We have been in touch with an organization, that had organized tree planting for YRDSB school groups on the Oak Ridges Moraine last year. If the weather is warm enough, we hope to roll out our project during the month of May or early June 2016.
‘Give Trees A Chance’ really means let’s give each other a chance – to establish new roots as well as re-discover the older ones and to grow together in all our diversity. Maybe then, with our friends of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, we will find ways to give ‘peace’ a chance.
- $250 – Learning proper tree planting techniques
- $500 – Shipping for trees
- $250 – Equipment for tree planting
Why Give Trees a Chance?
We are greening the Greenbelt that surrounds the GTA to protect, conserve and enhance the environment. We are involving the entire school community including all staff, students, parents and local community partners which allows a network of dialogue helping us to increase awareness.
We are also integrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives across the curriculum to help teachers engage students in deconstructing bias to deepen their understanding of stereotypes and various forms of discrimination experienced by Indigenous peoples of Canada. This project relates to social justice and economic fairness as students explore the very rich and diverse histories of aboriginal peoples and their communities and understand the challenges that they encounter and the losses that they have had to endure.
The project allows teachers to become agents of change with their students for greater empathy and both social and environmental justice across our diverse communities. It allows us to honour individual and collective identities as well as embrace the ideas, talents and contributions of aboriginal peoples that we share with each other.