The day after Earth Day, the time when most of the youngsters are still struggling to get out of their bed. Interns, from Oakland High Earth Team, were already up. Sitting in a long white van, on their way to Wanlass Park: to plant some trees. I mean, what’s more entertaining and beneficial to our community and environment besides planting some trees on a bright, sunny weekend? It’s a good way to reduce the risk of dying from the inhalation of carbon dioxide, and to reduce the chances of obesity caused by being a couch potato.
Well my favorite part of the day, besides the costco pizzas, was digging up the dirt and later filling them back in. Such a satisfaction to a person with OCD. Other than that, I also enjoyed seeing the destination, where the holes were located, when we were lifting the trees. They looked quite similar to the trees I saw on one of the plant exchanges that I been to, but I guess they weren’t that close to each other after all, that should explain the difference between their weight.
The most challenging part of the day, I would say. You might’ve already guessed by reading the previous paragraph, was to bring the trees to the holes we dug. Somehow my limbs weren’t cooperating with my eyes, which made it a little difficult to decide where to step next on our way up the hill, which was slightly more even than a mountain of legos. Coming next was carrying the water buckets. Though you might love to have some cold water splashing on you on a hot, sweaty day for every step that you took, I guess the dirt and the dead grass loves it as well. And trust me, it wouldn’t be much of a pleasure to see them combined on your pant. Talking about dead grass, I also found it being more annoying than I expected it to be. It seemed to be head over heel in love with my socks that somehow it found its way into my shoes. And apparently, my feet weren’t too happy about it with all the scratching red marks on their face.
I was impressed and enjoyed working with Earth Team interns from Richmond High, and students from UC Berkeley. Being an expert at starting an awkward conversation, I was able to communicate with them without feeling overly uncomfortable. Okay, I admit I didn’t talk much, but I enjoyed listening to their conversation on their taste of music. The UC Berkeley students who accidentally broke the stake and the family of seven also kept me well entertained throughout the day. The experience of planting trees was also pretty fun. I used to observe others plant trees and never actually have done it myself, so it was new to me.
Finally, after the long talk on the goods and bads. I’ve taken away four very important lessons from the difficulties that I faced: 1. Wear jeans that are long enough to cover the opening of my shoes. 2. Never hold a plant by it’s roots. 3. The roots will die due to the lack of oxygen if they are buried too deep underground. 4. Though much hard work required in planting a tree, and the years it takes for it to grow were possibly longer than your patience can wait. But it was all worth it, because trees make up a huge portion of our lives. Besides bringing us wealth, convenience in life, and the needs of living, it’s also correcting the mistakes that we’ve made and solving the biggest problem that we are currently facing. To which will greatly impact the sustainability of human lives in the future: Global Warming.
Written By: Chuyi, OH Intern
Planting trees is one of those things that people don’t think much about, the thing that people would scoff and brush off their minds. Being there today, digging the hole, carrying the tree, and watering the plants has made me realize that the things that we do not think about can actually be the most difficult.
It saddens me to think that we can cut down a tree with such ease and indifference towards the consequences of this action. This reflects a world that is disintegrated from the environment and in order to promote true environmental awareness, community members need to have direct experiences out there.
My favorite part of the day is seeing a community of students come together and express their love towards our earth; it restores my faith in human compassion. The challenge has always been a physical one, but we tested and overcame the limits of our physical abilities and in the end, that is very rewarding.
We build machines to cut down trees but we do not build machines to plant trees. In the end, it is these little things that have large impacts on the world and with our undoubting endeavors towards a better future, we can build a better world.
Written By: Cai, OH Intern
My favorite part of the day was meeting new people. We had community members, college students and another school come out. It was fun learning how to work with new earth team members and the community.
The most challenging was the need for strength. Everything was really heavy and it everyone did their share of the work. And it was hard to keep going after the first tree because we were dehydrated. To interact and participate was fun. We had music and good conversations going. I learned about my earth team members from my own school and it was amazing.
My biggest take away is that I learned new things. I learned out to plant a tree. I learned to put sunscreen on and I learned how to communicate my needs for help and what my weaknesses are.
Written By: Sophie, OH Intern
I found the most enjoyable part of the day to be when volunteers from a UC Berkeley fraternity showed up less than an hour into our work, largely because their presence meant the Earth Team interns could leave much of the digging and heavy lifting up to them. This turn of events was probably for the best as those college men probably produce more testosterone in one second than I will in my entire life.
I would say the most challenging part of the day was having to carry buckets of water to the trees. Due to past experience, I already knew that water can be surprisingly heavy, but for some reason, my muscles weren’t responding to my brain’s requests to lift the half-filled bucket more than five feet at a time.
However, it was nice to know that I still possess the ability to make good first impressions on complete strangers with my roguish charm and dashing sense of humor. I’ve taken away two valuable lessons from our tree planting endeavors at Wanlass Park: 1) I should probably stay hydrated more even if me not drinking water until the end didn’t turn into an issue that day, and 2) however physically draining tree planting may be, we all must contribute to protecting the environment if we want any hope of not seeing humanity die out in a climate change induced catastrophe. I, for one, would much rather prefer to meet my end due to nuclear war.
Written By: Bryant, OH Intern
During the wanlass park tree planting event I had a great and fun time being able to help plant different types of trees at the park. My favorite part of the day was being able to meet new interns from another school and being able to cooperate with each other on how to plant a tree and what steps we need to do to rightfully plant the trees. Also, another thing was I got to meet UC Berkeley students he came to also help plant tree in the park and also got to know some of them and what they’re going through. They also helped us carried the trees up the steep hill so we didn’t need to keep walking back and up the hill.
The most challenging part for me was while digging and removing the soil for where the trees was going to be planted I was standing on a steep hill where I would sometimes lose my balance and slip when trying to dig the hole deeper. It felt awesome and pleasure to meet and to interact with other students while planting the trees.
My biggest takeaway from this event was planting trees is a heavy duty to do and requires a lot of energy and strength, however I was managed to at least plant a tree and get to interact with new people and cooperate with each other to get those trees planted.
Written By: Peter, OH Intern
My favorite part about the whole day was getting to plant a tree and meeting new people. I enjoyed planting the trees since they were my first ever trees and I can go back to that park and actually said that I planted those. I liked meeting the girl from the different organization because she seemed like a cool person and she was great at being our leader. Also it was nice meeting the boys from college and hearing their experiences at Berkeley.
The most challenging part was when the later it got in the day and the closer to the afternoon that it got the hotter it got. It was hard work in a hot sun which made it more challenging, but that also gave me the opportunity to try to push myself further. Also carrying the water buckets and the trees to our area was pretty hard.
I liked having help from different students because it gave me the chance to meet and talk to new people and also helping the community and park that we were in.
My biggest takeaway from this project was the tree planting and how much teamwork it takes to plant a tree. I will also take away the fact that if you have people helping you or if you help people it would make the job much faster and easier while you build bonding experiences with a stranger.
Written By: Brianna, OH Intern
Thanks for reading!
LEADERSHIP I STEWARDSHIP I SERVICE