Thomas Jefferson community members work together planting trees on campus.
On Saturday April 15th, students, parents, and staff at Thomas Jefferson High School planted 29 new trees, replacing the fence on the north side driveway of the student parking lot and other various locations on campus. The event was organized by principal Mike Christoff and parent Spring Hericks.
To get the school ready for the project, custodial staff and robotics students pulled out the fencing next to the driveway all the way up to the end of the school’s property line. The school also had to get some dead trees removed, mulched, and trimmed, courtesy of Real Mountain Tree Service. “We want to beautify the campus and to help out mother earth,” explained Christoff.
When Christoff arrived with the new trees that he had picked up earlier that morning from a tree nursery, the volunteers were eager to help with this important project and quickly got to work. Some volunteers had the job of digging the initial holes for the trees, while others were responsible for widening the holes and checking for the correct depth for the tree. The group planted a total of four different species of trees: Kentucky Coffee, American Linden, Bur Oak, and Elm Oak. Two trees were planted in the back of the school near the soccer field, two were planted in the grassy section to the north of the student drop off area, and the rest in the field behind the baseball field.
The volunteers were all happy to help out and be a part of this community project. “It’s a wonderful legacy for the project volunteers to leave the school to enjoy in years to come,” said Hericks. For the student volunteers, the tree planting was an incentive, as they received volunteer hours and extra funding for their respective programs. “I was just happy to be out helping out the school, and the volunteer hours were a bonus,” said sophomore Joe McComb. The event ended in the early afternoon with all the trees sitting comfortably in their new homes.
At the end of the day, the project was finished with all of the goals completed. The tree planting was just the start to a much bigger and better project for improving the school grounds, Other projects are on the way, such as finding a few community partners interested in helping to complete additional phases. They still need to install sprinklers to irrigate one section where the trees have been planted, pave two sections with crushed breeze to provide walkways for students exiting the campus to the parking lot and Ivanhoe street, plant additional trees in various locations, and update signs and directional signage around the property. After all this is done, Christoff hopes the school will look and feel more like a college campus.