Students planted three trees at The Gregory School. Photo courtesy of Andrei Henriksan.

Students planted three trees at The Gregory School. Photo courtesy of Andrei Henriksan.

This past week, Roots & Shoots planted three new trees on campus to help beautify and replace several trees that had been recently cut down.

“We are excited to donate the trees and give shade to future generations of Gregory School students,” said Ben Petersen, the Roots & Shoots president.

Roots & Shoots is a global youth-led community action program founded by Dr. Jane Goodall, a prominent scientist and UN Messenger of Peace. The program builds on the legacy and vision of Goodall to empower the young people creating practical solutions to big issues affecting people, animals, and the environment.

Last year, Roots & Shoots focused their efforts on helping animals in the region. A fundraiser in the form of a Halloween candy sale raised over $550 for the the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, a local nonprofit animal protection organization.   

Taking Dr. Goodall’s mission to heart, the Roots & Shoots members decided to turn their focus on improving the local people’s livelihood.

By the middle of October this year, big and small boxes appeared in some classrooms with a sign bearing the name “Roots and Shoots” on them. This time, they were gathering supplies for the Emerge! Shelter for victims of domestic violence.

The entire school became engaged and involved in this project due to Roots & Shoots requirement that each advisor collect a specific item for the drive, such as: twin sheets, pillows, new bath towels, and razors. According to Ben Petersen, the club members “recognize that many students want to support our work and that support takes many forms.”

The plan proved to meet the Roots & Shoots club members’ hopes. After hearing about the cause, sophomore Michael Artzi thought this was a great opportunity because “our students don’t usually do this kind of project.”

Librarian Laura Calverley’s advisory is probably one of the most active participants in the program. Within the first week, two brand new pillows were already lying in the donation box and people were bringing more. Calverley said: “We hope we are able to collect enough stuff to make a difference.”

Seeing the enthusiasm from students, faculty, staff, and parents toward their project, the Roots & Shoots club members expressed their appreciation.