The EarthTeam Richmond High School Urban Forestry Interns recently celebrated their final meeting of the internship, completing a year of trees, dirt, and mulch. Interns spent much of the year learning dendrology and training as an arborist. How does a healthy tree grow? Where should you plant a tree? How do you plant a tree? And why should you plant a tree? Students were immersed in experiences that sought to answer all these questions. They spoke with experts like UC Berkeley Forestry Professor Joe McBride. They planned a demonstration forest in the City of San Pablo’s Wanlass Park. They also planted lots and lots of trees.
95 young trees, in total, now grow in the cities of Richmond, San Pablo, and El Cerrito, because of the hard work of the interns. Through their effort planting trees they even managed to break a few city records. At Wanlass Park in San Pablo they set the record for most volunteers at an event, and the record for most trees planted in one day. (They set the record with 20 trees.)
“Wanlass Park was my favorite event because it pushed me out of my comfort zone, having to lead strangers.” – Enrique Alegria
The interns would later also tie their record for most trees planted at Davis Park in San Pablo.
During their learning experiences, students learned many things about trees and how they are managed in the city. In one project they learned how to discern harmful tree pathogens and diseases.
“I learned about how trees are like human beings with health issues.” Brian Alvarez
The interns even had a chance to educate the City of San Pablo’s City Council about the presence of a fatal tree disease, bright blight, in some trees along San Pablo Avenue.
When the interns were asked to reflect on their work during the year and why it was important, some students saw the value of the impact they made and the skills they learned.
“I felt like I was a part of something more than just planting a tree in the ground, but part of a revolution. We as a community are developing skills to improve our society and ourselves.” – Sara Gordian
“Some of the skills that I learned was that begin organized is very important. In the future I’ll use this skill to help me organize whenever I ever host an event and have everything in order so that things won’t get chaotic.” – Perla Luna
“I learned leadership skills and public speaking skills. I learned how to be a leader with my group.” – Fernanda Martinez
Students also considered why other students should join EarthTeam in the future. Student’s suggested that the program provided valuable experiences and one student recognized their new appreciation for the outdoors.
“I learned to enjoy nature. Something I never did before.” – Shaneen Britton
“They should join because it is a great program. They will gain lots of experience and skills for the future. The students and staff are amazing! This program is worth giving up every Monday and every other Saturday.”– Itzel Gonzales
Thank you to all the student intern, partners, and volunteers that helped make this year’s urban forestry internship a success! Next year’s students will have the opportunity to plant more trees in new territory for EarthTeam, including El Sobrante. Students will also get a chance to help expand the demonstration forest at Wanlass Park in San Pablo. We look forward to the new interns urban greening efforts.