Community Tree Planting Day at Wanlass Park

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Attendees circling up to start the day.

On March 3rd, Earth Team interns from Richmond High School continued their work with the City of San Pablo to transform Wanlass Park into an educational urban forest. After weeks of preparation and planning, our Richmond High team hosted a community tree planting event, inviting community members and several other Earth Team schools. Though the weather was not ideal, the interns and public at the planted a total of 22 trees in only a few hours!

After introductions, Richmond High interns led a crash course in tree planting. They covered all of the bases – digging an appropriately sized hole, selecting the proper species, planting the tree, and ensuring the tree has proper support to survive. Once they were briefed, the attendees started planting trees!

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Richmond High interns Julissa (left), Dzalia (top middle), and Cynthia (bottom middle) showing how to dig a hole.

A bit of light rain was bearable throughout the morning, but when it started hailing, we had to stop planting and eventually had to end the event early. Still, there was something about the heavy hail that brought everyone closer together (literally AND figuratively) and everyone’s moods stayed upbeat.

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Volunteers starting to dig a hole.

The Richmond High team did a great job leading and teaching at the event. They were nervous about speaking to the large number of attendees (over 60 people signed in!) but they pushed through the material and felt accomplished by the end of the day. During the next meeting, the interns reflected on the experience, and here’s what they had to say:

“I think that overall the Wanlass Community Event was a success. We did a pretty good job and lot a lot of things done. Even with the rain, we stuck to getting our tree done and getting everything cleaned up and organized until it started raining really hard and hailing. I really enjoyed getting to meet new people and it was nice to help them plant their first tree because everyone in my group had never planted a tree. It was also interesting talking to them while we were planting. One thing that I learned about having community events is that it can be hard trying to get everyone organized and listening to the information you have to give but then it’s also rewarding when you do get to do that and come together to do something positive. What I would do differently for another time would be to try to talk to more people, not just those in my own group.”

-Valeria Rocha, Richmond High School intern

“Having a community event even when you plan for weeks, it won’t come out perfect. That’s fine because then you know what to focus on for the next time you plan an event. I was actually pretty surprised in myself because I went out of my own comfort zone and talked to new people. I was the one who approached them, instead of having to wait until someone came up to me. I was with 3 girls and we actually talked to each other and got to know each other a little more. Although it was raining, it was a very fun experience working with other schools and students you may not know.”

-Cynthia Mendoza, Richmond High School intern

“I was pretty nervous to speak in front of the crowd but once I started, I felt more comfortable with myself. I met new people but I didn’t interact with others besides my group. A challenge we all had was the rain and hail and I think if it didn’t rain we could have reached a larger number of trees planted. I felt really accomplished when our group finished those 2 trees.”

-Connie Huezo, Richmond High School intern

“Our event actually went better than expected. I wasn’t nervous and planting in the rain with strangers was super fun. I was in a group with Connie, a junior from Skyline, and a mother and her son. It felt really good to help the mom who didn’t speak English. It’s awesome that I’m available to translate/speak two languages and actually put it to use. I didn’t even mind the hail.”

-Jason Varela, Richmond High School intern

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Richmond High interns Jason & Connie (left side) posing with their freshly planted tree and 2 volunteers and a Skyline High intern (far right).

GRATITUDE:

We want to give a huge thank you to our food and drink sponsors for the event – Catahoula Coffee, Berkeley Bowl, and Raley’s – for supporting Earth Team and our local Richmond/San Pablo communities! We also want to thank the City of San Pablo for their support during the event as well as all of the volunteers who showed up to help. A final thank you to our grantor Releaf for supporting us throughout this project.

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