Citizens around the globe are celebrating our Earth through many activities and events on this, the 46th annual Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Trees for the Earth”.
In keeping with that theme, members of the Lake San Marcos Democratic Club collaborated with the 2016 Senior Class of San Marcos High School in planting a tree in the “quad” area of the beautiful new high school campus in San Marcos. The club donated the tree and a plaque will be placed permanently in front of the tree to commemorate the occasion. The plaque, dedicated to the Senior class reads, “This tree is given to the SMHS Class of 2016 to commemorate their many honorable contributions to school and community. Lake San Marcos Democratic Club, Earth Day April 20, 2016.”
The ceremony, attended by senior class, Environmental and FFA clubs and ASB members along with LSM Democratic Club members, took place on Wednesday during the lunch hour. Assistant Principal John Hayek kicked off the ceremony with a few words that acknowledged the sometimes “difficult relationship” the school and the Lake San Marcos community have had over the past 50 years. He recognized that things have always “been worked out professionally” and this ceremony celebrates and recognizes that.
Tuheen Manika, Environmental Club President, spoke about the importance of Earth Day and this ceremony in particular, explaining, “This tree will be the first tree ceremonially planted in the new campus, and will represent the steps our school is taking to creating a more responsible future.” He described the school’s already successful efforts to reduce waste, but more needs to be done. He suggested that a recycling bin needs to be placed next to every trash bin on campus, and he applauds the joint efforts of the Environmental Club with the FFA (Future Farmers of America) to compost food waste. “So while this tree will look really nice and provide us with plenty of oxygen and lots of shade, its planting symbolizes our school’s move towards a more responsible future” he explained.
Coordinator of the event, Mary Borevitz, (LSM Democratic Club past President) said that “I grew up in a family dedicated to making the Earth a better place. Now as a mother, grandmother and public servant, preserving our planet for future generations is especially important to me. As a School Board member for 17 years,” Mary explains, “I naturally thought of our schools when I began thinking of how we could best communicate the message of Earth Day. My generation left the earth in a worse way than when we found it. Planting trees is one way to clean up the air, water, and land for future generations. We understand the details of the problem and have the solutions in hand to solve them. The job of youth is now in the doing. Bring on the Clean energy, blue water, and green plants!” Mary then presented the Plaque to Connor O’Neill, President of the ASB.
School Principal Tiffany Campbell closed out the remarks by saying her goal is to “graduate students who believe in the future and will work to make it better. This tree symbolizes our connection to the Earth and to each other.”
The tree was then ceremoniously placed in the ground. Students, faculty, and LSM Democratic Club members each placed a spade of dirt around the tree to begin the planting process. Several students commented on how they are excited to see the tree next Spring in its pink flower adornment, while Mary remarked that when the students return in future years for reunions they’ll be able to see its growth and remember its purpose.
Why is tree planting important to our environment? According to the Earth Network which coordinates Earth Day activities globally, “Trees absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles.” Additionally “Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.”
This tree, planted on April 20, 2016, will forever stand as a reminder of these ideals for all students who pass through the school in the coming years.