After spending the final week detoxifying, a group of high school students from Davenport spent part of their Sunday weeding the Living Land and Waters tree nursery.
This was the group’s first official project, now known as the “DCSD Green Team”. The initiative was led by Landen Freeman, his senior at North High School after working at Green Iowa’s Amercorp this summer.
“What I did was try to formalize an environmentalist organization at a high school in this district,” Freeman said. “These were things that already existed independently. I did my best to make them all work together and create an opportunity for him to be known as one of Davenport’s high school student environmental initiatives.”
Part of Freeman’s work included creating the DCSD Green Teams website.
“On this website, we hope to create pages for many environmental organizations in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, so that high school conservation teams can leverage them, branch out and form partnerships. he said.
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According to Freeman, the group’s sponsor, Northern science teacher Laura McCreary, who is a frequent volunteer at Living Lands and Waters, connected the students with the organization of the seedling project.
“That’s how we came across it [the project]I don’t know if this necessarily means a long-term partnership with Living Lands and Waters, but we are always looking to help others. It’s not just environmentalism, it’s environmental management and leadership. . Partnering with others within the community is an important role…We have not set up a formal partnership yet, but that is something we will consider in the future. I am trying to make a connection. That way you can really start making a big impact. ”
Although only six students (five from North and one from Central) participated in the tree nursery project on Sunday, McCreery called the DCSD Green Team “changemakers,” and this student-led initiative is bearing fruit. I was happy to see it tied.
“It’s been very rewarding to see them take the lead and want change,” she said. It’s the first student-led initiative in the world and we hope to grow each year.”
One promising DCSD Green Team partnership is with a national non-profit, Tree-Plenish, to distribute saplings to be planted throughout the Quad-City community.
“It’s going to be a big job,” she said. “Tree-Plenish has classes that we take, and in December we will start raising funds to give the community free seedlings that we distribute, and we will distribute them in March and April. We need to find local partners who can help us with this, which is a pretty big project to offset our carbon footprint.”
Two other North members, senior Emma Jawron and Aaliyah Flores, agree that promoting environmental commitment and awareness in high schools is important.
“A lot of kids just don’t know about these issues. Not everyone takes environmental science classes. “It’s not that people are paying attention,” Jauron said. As soon as you join the club, you can really look at these issues.”
“If you start young, it almost becomes a habit,” added Flores. “When you finish high school and go to college, you can spread the word about how to help the environment. We have these solutions that people might not have thought of.”
Jauron, president of North’s environmental club, is excited to start making visible changes in his school.
“I’m excited to see how much recycling we can ultimately save and how our students will start to become more responsible,” she said.
Flores takes the lead in promoting the club for other students through a bulletin board.
“We put things out there that people don’t realize and tug at their heartstrings. This or that,” she said. “You don’t have to go to every meeting to make a difference. Even small things like using something other than a plastic bottle can make a difference.”
So far this year, North’s conservation team has been circling their classrooms to share informational videos on proper recycling practices. Jauron said there are also plans to sell reusable straws to student groups.Flores said they are also working to promote through schoolhouse announcements
Freeman is the president of North’s Student Board. He hopes to use his unique platform to help DCSD Green grow his team.
“There are a lot of really great conversations going on in our conservation team and in our environmental science class. I was able to go see it, there are a lot of great ideas,” he said. “While I am still navigating my role, I hope to develop many of these ideas and concerns further and develop a proposal to submit to the school board to bring the conversation to that level. There are some really exciting things going on at the board level.”
“High school students hold a unique place in their communities … We always hear that the young people of the world are the future, and if they speak up enough, they have the best chance of being heard,” Freeman said. , career field. “There are many opportunities to make an impact, but it can also be rewarding.”
Three students plan to continue their commitment to the environment and sustainability after high school.