DECA, Green Club Dig Up Some Dirt in Campus Courtyard


Image by Bahiya Khan

Under grey skies and cold weather, sophomores Walta Haile and Kanwal Ahemad plant native trees in the campus courtyard.

Green Club and DECA collaborated on Nov. 14, to plant native trees in the courtyard. Club sponsors Tina Vick and Vera Cruz, alongside Danny Nguyen, DECA Historian, invited Mark Sanders and John Chenoweth, environmentalists from the City of Austin, to help organize this event. Sanders and Chenoweth brought plants, mulch, rebar, and tools to help the volunteers from both clubs to get started.

“I came to the planting because I found the idea of adding trees to the courtyard and beautifying our school very appealing,” senior and DECA officer Minha Ghani said. “I really enjoyed the whole experience and it was fun working together with Green Club.”

Around 1:30 p.m. members of both clubs began to arrive. Immediately they were given a shovel and some gloves. Mini flags and plants were placed in various parts of the courtyard. Sanders gave a quick tutorial about how to plant and let the members pick their spots.

The planting process was somewhat hard. First, the volunteers were given shovels to dig up the earth. Not hard right? Well, that digging, took a long time. If you were digging in one area, a million rocks would have decided to obstruct your way. Any where you dug, many rocks, big and small, blocked the way. Many digging sites needed professionals to come over and crush the rocks out of the way.

Planting trees is not as easy as it sounds,” senior and DECA member Emily Wei. said. “It involves many steps to a process that could easily go wrong, and I never knew about these. We had to cut out large cylinders out of iron bars in order to protect our trees so they don’t get mowed down. Next, digging a hole for the tree involved lifting a heavy shovel and maneuvering out of the pathway of roots, rocks, and pipelines. Finally, the tree plant and roots at the correct position that is deep enough and covering the area around the soil with mulch. Even though it was tiresome, tree planting was great because I got to work with my closest friends and even some new friends.”

Once the majority of trees were planted, the volunteers were tasked with a difficult job: protecting them.

“Getting into it, we agreed that planting itself, would not be the issue,” Nguyen said. “We’ve planted in the courtyard before, but the issue was how were we going to preserve those plants and keep the mowers from cutting them down.”

The problem was quickly solved by placing protective fencing around the trees so they don’t get run over.

“The best part of the whole experience was looking at all of the saplings we planted,” junior and Green Club officer Karen Jung said. “It reflected how much hard work we had accomplished for our school.”

After a long and tiring day, members of both clubs were treated with pizza. The atmosphere was filled with unity among both clubs as they worked to improve both the school and the environment.

The most memorable part of planting was the satisfaction of knowing that these trees were planted by us,” Wei said. “I can’t wait to come back in a few years after we graduate to see how much progress our trees have made.”