Shawnee students, Tree-Plenish partner to plant saplings to offset energy use

Feb. 10—Shawnee High School students are partnering with the nonprofit Tree-Plenish for the second year in a row to help offset their school's energy consumption by planting saplings in the yards of local residents.

"As an educator, my goal is to nurture a sense of stewardship for the Earth and to inspire students to seek positive solutions to environmental challenges," said Elizabeth Allen, Shawnee High School's Environmental Science Teacher and advisor for the event. "While fully eliminating carbon emissions may be unrealistic, we can make a difference by offsetting our carbon footprint through actions like tree planting."

With the help of Tree-Plenish, students calculate their school's energy use to determine their sapling goal, which is to plant 700 saplings around the county.

"Knowing that our group actually gets to do something that will have an impact on our environment makes me feel important. I'm excited to work with our community and strive to build something better." Kate Einink, Shawnee High School Class of 2024, and a student in the environmental class.

This is the second time the school is hosting this event, which Allen started planning two years ago when several teachers forwarded her an email about the Tree-Plenish program.

"Last year, we didn't know what to expect," Allen said. "For our first event, if we sold any trees I would have been excited. But, our community showed up! We sold a little over 300 saplings. It was an amazing experience. The volunteers really enjoyed planting and convinced me that we should try again. We are hoping to make it an annual project."

Students began planning this event last fall. Over the next few months, they will focus on marketing the event to residents and businesses who may be interested in buying a sapling, as well as reach out to their community to recruit volunteer to helps the day of the event.

Residents can help support the event by ordering a sapling to be planted in their yard, making a monetary contribution through the Tree-Plenish website, or signing up to volunteer to plant the day of the event. Saplings are $5 and residents can choose between American sycamore, sugar maple and blue spruce.

The deadline to order a sapling is Thursday, April 4. Planting day will be held Saturday, May 4. To order, visit https://tpevents.org/school/4044.