When my teacher first told me about the YSLP program last fall I was immediately interested. I was already planning to attend the Sustainability Summit and wanted to continue getting involved in the sustainability initiatives in Cleveland.
I applied for the program and before I knew it I was attending meetings on Saturdays with the other YSLP students and starting to plan my project! I chose to focus my project around trees because of how beneficial they are to the environment and the ambience of a community. I had heard about the Cleveland Tree Plan at the Sustainability Summit in the fall, so this was the first resource I used when starting my project. With the help of folks at the Cleveland Office of Sustainability, the Holden Arboretum, and the Western Land Conservancy, we eventually organized a tree planting event near Mound Stem Elementary School in Slavic Village on Arbor Day. We were able to have three trees donated to us by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and the next step was to fundraise for supplies such as mulch and gloves. I held a “clothing swap” at my school in early April, meaning I asked students to donate their old clothes which I then sold to the rest of the community. It was very successful! Using the profits from the clothing swap itself and the money I received from selling leftovers to Plato’s Closet and Revolve Fashion, I was able buy needed supplies and still had $218 left over. I chose to donate this money to the Western Land Conservancy in gratitude for their donation and all their hard work.
The Arbor Day event was also a success. On the morning of April 27th, students from Mound Stem Elementary and students from my school, Hathaway Brown, gathered in Slavic Village to plant the three trees. It was a lot of fun working with the middle schoolers from Mound Stem and just getting outside to celebrate Arbor Day and beautiful spring weather. After the tree planting we cleaned up trash around the site and noticed the whole space looked much better than it did when we arrived.
Thanks to my mentor, Nicole Snider, the Cleveland Office of Sustainability, and all those who helped to make my project a success!