Friends of Trees has been partnering with Chemawa Indian School in Salem for more than five years. Our partnership includes training Chemawa students as Crew Leaders for our planting events in Salem and engaging hundreds of Chemawa students at tree planting and tree care events, including activities at the Chemawa Indian School campus.
This partnership has been driven by dedicated teachers and staff at Chemawa who are passionate about creating opportunities for the students to participate in their community through improving the environment while building their leadership skills.
Chemawa teacher Paula Stuart explains why the partnership is so valuable to Chemawa,
“Friends of Trees’ offer to donate trees on Chemawa’s campus has increased awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship. Students who might not have otherwise noticed have joined in, sometimes merely tempted by donuts and hot chocolate, then catching the joy of working outside in teams of happy diggers.”
Paula continues, “Science teachers at the school have offered credit for participation and I am ever so happy that this active engagement has influenced several students’ interest in pursuing environmental careers.”
Chemawa student Jasmine (pictured above and at the far left in the top photo), who is in her third season of crew leading with Friends of Trees, shares some of what she’s learned through this partnership, “Being a crew leader is helping me overcome my fear of public speaking and helping me gain confidence to lead groups of people.”
Paula talks about other benefits of the partnership, “Partnering with Friends of Trees has been an ongoing pleasure for many Chemawa students and me for several reasons. I have no doubt that a great deal of their enthusiasm is due to the inclusive and fun philosophy of Friends of Trees staff. This enthusiasm has grown into an absolute infection on campus, making several students step up to crew leader trainings that provide leadership goals for college transcripts and job opportunities.”
Friends of Trees would not be able to complete all of our critical natural area restoration work in Salem without the help of these incredible youth; we look forward to continuing and growing this wonderful partnership.