At the end of October, RHS interns teamed up with Alhambra High interns to continue work on an environmentally themed mural on 23rd street in Richmond. Designed by interns at John F. Kennedy High, the mural depicts both what the environment will be like if we continue business as usual (industrialized and dirty) and what the environment could look like if we stepped up as responsible stewards (community gardens, thriving nature, clean water). Interns loved working on a hands on project during their meeting and were empowered to work just a half mile from their high school. Community members walking by stopped to ask about the project and gave enthusiastic and inspiring feedback to our interns. RHS was happy to get this chance to help on such a cool and beautiful project!
On October 21, RHS interns participated in their first tree planting event of the school year. This tree planting project at Wanlass Park in San Pablo is Richmond High’s main project of the year and is funded by RELEAF and supported by the City of San Pablo. The purpose of this project is to create an educational urban forest where the surrounding community can come enjoy nature and learn about trees and the benefits of urban forestry. The project is designed specifically to give disadvantaged communities access to green spaces in addition to accessing the environmental benefits of trees.
Last school year, RHS interns managed to plant 42 trees. This year, the group is on track to plant at least another 60! The plans for the park include a variety of species: coast live oak, blue oak, western redbud, saucer & southern magnolias, incense cedar, gingko, bay laurel, and red maple.
For this first planting, interns focused on getting some blue oaks into the ground. Because many of the interns had never planted a tree before, we invited an experienced landscaper to come give a tree planting demonstration. Mae Clark of Plenty Landscapes volunteered her time to show the interns proper tree planting procedure and helped us get our first tree in the ground successfully! Interns learned about many important details of tree planting, including what shape and size to make the hole, how deep the tree should be planted, and how to stake and tie the tree once planted. Earth Team owes a big thank you to Mae!
After a few hours of hard work, the group was able to plant 6 trees total for the day. The ground was extremely hard and dry, so digging holes took up a good portion of the time. Interns learned that planting trees is hard work but also very rewarding! We are looking forward to many more days working with our trees!
On October 19, 2017, Earth Team board member and retired UC Berkeley professor Joe McBride came into RHS’s weekly meeting to teach our interns what urban forestry is and its benefits.
Interns learned that urban forestry is the management and care of trees in urban settings with the intent of improving urban environments. There is a lot of work that goes into managing an urban forest and such management is provided by a number of sources including city and utility foresters and arborists, policymakers, city planners, and community volunteers. Tree management in cities has different challenges than out in the forests. Unique challenges include limited space for roots or canopies, poor soil quality, damage to trees by citizens, and costs of labor. These are only a few of the considerations necessary when planning and managing urban forests.
Having a well maintained urban forests has a plethora of benefits! One important benefit is the way trees can influence a more moderate micro-climate; trees provide shade/cooling of buildings and roads, absorb sunlight, cool the air, and can reduce wind speed. This can make a city more comfortable, especially considering the way climate is changing. Other environmental benefits include increased biodiversity, better air quality, and absorption of rain water (which can help with flooding issues).
Urban forests can also provide economic and social benefits. Well landscaped business districts encourage more customers and can increase employee productivity, retention, and job satisfaction. Studies have also shown that more trees correlates with less crime and increased quality of life and happiness.
After describing all the juicy details about urban forestry, Joe also introduced the interns to the proper way to plant a tree in preparation for our first tree planting event of the school year at Wanlass Park in San Pablo. The students learned a lot from Joe and were grateful to listen to his wise and knowledgeable words! A big thank you from Richmond High Interns!
During the last three Richmond High Earth Team meetings, interns both learned about sea level rise and prepared to have a table at the Point Pinole Shoreline Festival. The interns have two roles at the festival: the first is to host a climate change game/activity for the community, and the second is to participate in a march to help the community visualize sea level rise. To introduce the subject, guest speaker Lauren Woodfill of The Watershed Project prepared a brief presentation and activity for the interns. Here is what one student had to say about her presentation:
In lauren’s presentation (the watershed project) she described ways of how we affect and help the earth and she also talked about how our city could look like in 50-100 years, which is probably underwater/flooded. On the map she showed us that cities like richmond could be almost all under water. One of the activities we had to do was stand up and put stickers on pictures that we’d like to see more of at the shoreline:for an example biking, picnics, going to the park, clean beaches etc. The other activity was writing on sticky notes on what specifically we would want to do and where on a map. Basically I learned so many ways we can help the planet and I learned so many other ways on how we affect our planet. This is important to me because I want the next generation to live in a safe, healthy, and happy environment and in order for that we have to learn how to help take care of because if we don’t who knows if there’s even gonna be another generation.
-Alondra Rodriguez, RHS intern
After Lauren’s presentation, the interns brainstormed ideas for their project for the festival. They decided on making a game called “Fishing for Facts”. The idea of the game is to fish pieces of trash out of a bin, and each piece of trash will have the answer to a question about climate change on it. The participant then has to match the answer to a question on a poster board. Some teams worked on the creative aspects (making a poster & designing materials) while others researched and created questions about climate change. They had a blast creating their finished project and were pumped to present it at the festival!
Back in September, Richmond High School and Alhambra High School teamed up on Coastal Clean Up day to clean up Davis Park’s creek area in San Pablo! Several community members also attend and help the interns pick up trash.
Working in teams, the interns tackled the trash problem using the zero litter app on their provided iPads. The app allowed the interns to record several pieces of data on every single piece of trash: GPS location, type of trash, and quantity. Results from the day, as well as results from all other Earth Team litter pick up days, can be seen on the ZeroLitter website HERE. Teams were also geared up with gloves, trash grabbers & bags, and some even braved the coveralls!
In only one day, these interns were able to remove over 2,000 pieces of trash! They were surprised by how many pieces of microtrash they found on the ground and were happy to play a part in making the creek and park a cleaner space. We look forward to more clean ups in the future!
Earth Team is thrilled to be back at Richmond High School for the 2017-2018 program year! Earth Team staff members presented program information to 8 classes and reached over 175 students for this years program recruitment. After receiving over 40 applications we narrowed it down to 14 hardworking and ambitious interns who are ready to take action in their communities!
Our team spent our first meeting getting to know on another, learning about program logistics, and created bios. Check out our team HERE!
On September 9th, 2017, Richmond High repeaters kicked off the 2017-2018 school year with a Climate Action Cruise in the San Francisco Bay. We departed on a Sailing Research Vessel that was constructed to aid in providing solutions for our changing climate and to promote the awareness and conservation of our oceans to the current and future generations.
Our team jumped aboard and learned about the effects of climate change on our oceans while simultaneously gliding over the beautiful bay. We participated in a variety of activities like fishing for plankton, testing water quality, setting up the sail and more!
In addition, we participated in interviews where we were asked questions related to how climate change directly effects us as youth and what solutions we think will work best.
Our favorite parts of the cruise included connecting with educators, using scientific tools, and getting the chance to enjoy a boat ride (some of us for the very first time!).
Interacting with adults who showed an interest in teaching us and what they were studying was a great eye-opener to the world that we are entering as young adults.
Special thanks to all that made this day possible for our youth!
In groups of two, the Urban Forestry Interns set out in the neighborhood around their school campus to compete against each other in identifying tree species. The Interns have been learning about different tree species, and each gave a presentation to their teammates a few weeks back. With some knowledge of local tree species and strategies for discerning the differences among trees, the competition was competitive. The Interns also made use of dichotomous tree keys and internet searches to make identifications.
The winning team, with a perfect score, correctly identified all the tree species including bonus points for providing the botanical and common name of the trees.
“One way to help identify the tree is by looking at their leaves and bark.” – Jessica C.
“One way to help identify the trees are if they [the branches] where alternate or opposite.” – Lizet M.
On Saturday, December 3rd 2016, the Urban Forestry Interns at Richmond High School worked with volunteers and teachers at East Bay Waldorf to plant 26 trees on the Waldorf school campus. The event succeeded in breaking the record amount of trees planted in one day at an Earth Team tree planting event. (The previous record was 20 trees, which was set by last year’s interns in May 2016 at Wanlass Park in San Pablo, CA.)
This was the 3rd Urban Forestry tree planting event this year, and as tree planting experts, the interns led groups of volunteers to correctly plant trees.
Along with planting the most trees, the event included the greatest diversity of tree species. Please see below for a complete list.