PLANTING TREES DURING LOCKDOWN

 People in Arizona showed kindness in different ways during the Covid-19 pandemic. I decided to use my time during the coronavirus lockdown to help our planet Earth. I participated in the Trillion Trees Campaign, a global project to plant trees.

I received a $100 mini-grant to cover expenses for what I may need to grow trees, like native tree seeds, soil and manure. I originally planned to grow the trees in time for Earth Day, April 22, but due to COVID-19—changes to my school schedules, daily online classes, closure of stores, etc.—it made it impossible to start the project. The other problem that became an impediment was not being able to get a group of volunteers to help with the project.

I waited to finish my final exams and the school year. Then I made online searches and emailed several Arizona wildlife and native tree experts, with questions about native Arizona trees, seeds and the best ways to grow and distribute them. I emailed the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts, the Arizona Natural Resource Conservation service, and the Moon Valley Nursery to help me plan out how I would grow seeds. I was advised about how and where I should plant my trees, as well as specific trees that grow well. My thanks to a seed wholesaler called Wildlands Restoration from Tucson which donated thousands of native Arizona tree seeds for my project.

I received seeds for several native Arizona trees, including the desert willow, foothills palo verde, blue palo verde and ironwood trees. My parents and brother helped me shop for soil and manure. We purchased grow bags for the trees to grow in a nursery. I filled the grow bags with soil and stood them in cardboard boxes. Warm wet soil with seeds in them sprouted within a week. I watered and sprayed them with water daily so they stayed cool in the hot month of May.

I plan to distribute saplings to friends, family and neighbors so that they can plant them in their backyards. Even though I couldn’t interact with friends to help me with this project, I found this was a fun way to spend my time during the lockdown. I will continue to grow saplings and distribute them until winter.

Illustration by: Asha Matheth

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