HELENA — Trees in front of Helena Middle School were planted on Wednesday in a collaborative effort between Helena Middle School and Growing Friends of Helena.
“And Growing Friends is a Helena nonprofit. It’s been around since 1990. And we partner with communities to plant trees all across Helena,” says Volunteer Vice President of Growing Friends of Helena, Mackenzie Petersen.
Three elms, two bur oaks, and two maples were planted on the front lawn of HMS.
The partnership began when multiple school clubs pooled together money to put towards beautifying the school. Additionally, a few 8th graders wrote up a grant proposal addressed to those at Growing Friends, which also helped fund the project. Tyson Blaz, a 7th grade social studies teacher, says that this tree planting is in part a response to the removal of Rodney Street trees this past winter.
“And, you know, we’re just trying to do our end to kind of adapt to the change and, you know, start over and hopefully give these students a great opportunity to see what community service is and, you know, help in the neighborhood,” says 7th grade social studies teacher, Tyson Blaz.
Students not only learned how to properly plant a tree but more importantly learned the lesson of giving back and being in a community.
“I think it’s a generational thing. I think we have to, you know, teach our youth the importance of community and helping each other out and helping your community out,” says Blaz.
Bailey Smith and Cora Mandera, 7th graders at HMS, say they were happy to help plant something nice for their school and community.
“It’s fun planting trees, helping the community, giving back to something,” says Smith.
“It’s so much better than just having nothing. Like, we only have at least one good tree right now and that’s a pine tree. I feel like we just need more like trees with actual like leaves like elm trees and stuff,” says Mandera.