Elementary students help Tree Lafayette celebrate Earth Day

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. – As part of Lafayette’s five-year climate action plan to further grow Indiana’s tree population, Tree Lafayette has joined local schools in planting 15 trees at Miller Elementary.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski announced Earth Day on Friday, an effort that began with the planting of 15 trees at Miller Elementary School.

“We also want to announce today,” Roswarski said, “you also know that Lafayette, West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County are developing a climate action plan. And as part of the Lafayette effort, we are going to announce today that over the next 5 years we will be planting 1,000 trees in the city of Lafayette to help with the environment, to help with climate change, all the benefits that trees bring to our community.”

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski speaks at Miller Elementary School where 15 trees were planted in honor of Earth Day, as well as the 5-year climate action plan.  April 22, 2022.

Representatives of Tree Lafayette, a nonprofit that “plants and maintains trees primarily on public property or rights-of-way,” according to its website, in Lafayette explained why Miller Elementary was chosen to plant the 15 trees of different species.

“We just have a really nice place here,” said Rich McDaniel, a Tree Lafayette volunteer and chair of the Earth Day event. “There are eight trees here in front and then… seven in the back. The reason we have 15 is because our sponsorship, that’s about the number that the sponsors have provided.

“…The reason for the different species…is just diversity. (That’s) probably the most important. Some of them will flower or have leaves at different times.”

Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) was the lead sponsor for this event, donating all 15 trees as well as $5,000 in funding.

“We donated $5,000 to Tree Lafayette,” said Scott Brand, executive vice president of SIA. “They’ve used it for all the resources they need to buy trees, maintain equipment, etc. We know they’ll be the best stewards of that money.”

A group photo of those who celebrated Earth Day at Miller Elementary School.  Including members of Tree Lafayette, local government, Miller Elementary, Subaru of Indiana Automotive and Central Catholic Jr/Sr High School.  April 22, 2022

In addition to those from Miller Elementary, students from Central Catholic Jr/Sr High School also participated in the Earth Day event.

Liz Hutzel, senior at Central Catholic (CC) and president of the environment club, explained why she thinks helping the environment is important, especially for today’s students.

“I wanted to start the club so that people around CC would also help take action for the environment,” Hutzel said. “We try to raise awareness in the school…and then we also do monthly cleanups with the school as well.

“…I think it’s important for young students to recognize their need for leadership to help the environment. And so I wanted to start (the club) especially this year since I’m a senior…This year I I’ve been really trying to involve the underclasses, like the eighth and seventh graders at our school, so after I’m gone the club will still be (active).”

Margaret Christopherson is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email her at mchristopherson@jconline.com and follow her on Twitter @MargaretJC2.

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