Boulder Daily Camera- November 28, 2009
Student club greening up Fairview High School in Boulder
Net Zero Club has planted 59 trees in the last year
By James Collector, Camera Staff Writer
Fairview High School can look forward to shade, wind protection and a seasonal apple harvest in the future, thanks to the efforts of a student club that has planted 59 trees around the school in the last year.
The Net Zero Club, a group of about 15 students who meet weekly to work on environmental projects, is now raising money to plant eight more trees.
Parents or students can pay $60 to adopt a tree. Students provide the labor, and the fee pays for relocation, staking and mulching. In return, Fairview will hang a plaque with the donor's name inside the school.
When a tree farm in east Boulder when bankrupt last spring, Boulder County Open Space created a program to distribute the 15,000 orphaned trees to local nonprofit and government entities. Fairview's Net Zero Club jumped at the chance.
In April, the students began planting spruce and Austrian pines as wind screens on the northwest side of Fairview and near the front of the school.
"It was great to see kids in gym classes, kids from the teen pregnancy program, special needs kids -- all out there planting, staking, digging, watering," said Kris Moe, who has two daughters in the Net Zero Club and frequently helps with organizing.
Sophomore Cindy Zou joined the Net Zero Club four years ago at Summit Middle School.
"I think there's something really satisfying about planting a tree," she said. "It's physical labor, but it feels good. I just feel like it's my obligation as a person who lives on the planet to do something about climate change."
Tree-planting efforts at both Fairview High School and Summit Middle School received help from other sources. The Boulder Valley School District contributed stakes, and its maintenance program dug many of the holes for the students. The Home Depot contributed watering buckets and stakes. Eco-Cycle contributed an entire truckload of mulch.
This fall, students planted six ash and four honeycrisp apple trees, bringing the total to 59. Once the apple trees begin producing, Net Zero Club members hope they will help bring the Farm to Table program to Fairview by providing fruit for the school's cafeteria.
Hannah Kartel, a sophomore in the Net Zero Club, helped plant most of the ash trees.
"The people that I talked to in my classes were wondering why we planted them," said Kartel, who joined Net Zero to learn more about environmental issues. "I told them the trees help offset carbon. And Fairview is really windy, so once they're bigger they'll cut down the wind."
Besides the "Adopt a Tree, Leave a Legacy" program, Fairview's Net Zero Club has other environmental plans.
"We're going to do a recycling audit and try to get composting into the school," Kartel said. "And we're going to try to get a grant to have solar panels installed in Fairview."
For high school students, involvement can shape character, especially when they see their efforts produce tangible results.
"It's grown on me, being involved," said Jennifer Zhu, a sophomore in the Net Zero Club. "We're raising awareness, and we're making other people realize what's at stake."
How to help
What: "Adopt a Tree, Leave a Legacy" program at Fairview High School
More info: Nancy Flaherty, 720-561-3100