Contributing Writers: Lillian Jackson and Saturn Rothblatt, 8th grade members of the Liverpool Middle Green Warriors Environmental Club

It all started at the beginning of the year when our club, the Liverpool Middle Green Warriors Environmental Club, was trying to think of green things that we could do. One of our teachers had told us about a tree planting in the village. Participating in that event gave us the idea to plant our own trees at Liverpool Middle School. We knew this wasn’t something that we could just do, that it was much more than just digging up some dirt and planting. We had to convince the people in charge.

Thankfully, due to our teacher Brian Christopher, we didn’t have to do any of the talking, but we still had to help plan what was going to be said. This was the goal we set at the beginning of the year, and little by little we developed it more and more. It was a long process but we finally planned it out. Now our teacher would have to speak to the higher ups about it — the Principal, the Building and Grounds Director and the Deputy Superintendent.

As the day approached it got more stressful! What if they saw it as a waste of time? What if they completely rejected the idea? These were all things that we had on our minds leading up to the big day.

At last our teacher had the meeting. We all came to the school the next day wondering what the outcome would be. We eagerly waited to hear. At the end of the day we saw our teacher and got the great news. The New York State Urban Forestry Council had awarded a Tree Campus K-12 Grant to Liverpool for the project! We now had to find a day to do it. At first we planned it for April 27th, but we quickly figured out that not all of us would be able to attend if we scheduled it for that day, so instead we moved it to May 4th. We were so close at this point — we had gotten the okay and even had a date for the planting.

Then the day came for us to plant the trees, two river birches and one red maple selected by Leanna Nugent from Cornell Cooperative Extension/Onondaga and Justin Kinney, the LCSD Arborist. When most of us arrived, Mr. Christopher and Miss Pieklik, the assistant club advisor, had just finished setting up the tables. On top of one were small trees for those who attended to take home and on the other, snacks and posts also to take home. Most of the club made it to the event and we could begin.

The three holes were dug in advance by Justin Kinney. At around 12:15 the event started, with our teacher giving a speech thanking the many important people who made sure our event could take place: the New York State Urban Forestry Council, Leanna Nugent, Justin Kinney, Sara Pieklik, Liverpool Village Mayor Stacy Finney (who donated mulch), Board of Education member Hayley Downs, Deputy Superintendent Doug Lawrence and Principal Joe Mussi.

Then it was time to start working. Everyone grabbed a shovel and we were shown how to do it by Leanna Nugent. First, we measured to make sure the hole wasn’t too far down. Next we had one person hold the tree as the rest of us shoveled dirt around the roots. We had to be careful not to bury all of the tree and to leave the very top of the root sticking out. All of us worked on the first tree together, and some of the younger kids who showed up with their parents even tried to help. As we planted, we needed to keep stepping on the soil to make sure that there were no air pockets.

When we finished with the planting, half of us moved to the next tree and the rest helped mulch the first tree. We had a vehicle filled with mulch that backed up right behind the tree for us to shovel out the mulch that would hold water needed by the tree.

After the first tree was finished the time flew by quickly. It all became so easy after we knew what we were doing, and having so many people show up was loads of help. Once we finished planting our trees we could take a step back and admire our work. After all this time we had finally done it, and it was beautiful. Everyone was so excited to see the trees, but no one was as happy as our club members. We all then got together for a big photo: a great picture to capture a wonderful and important day for Liverpool Middle School.