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Samohi Students Launch Project to Grow and Plant Some 200 Trees and Shrubs


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By Lookout Staff

September 24, 2018 -- Santa Monica High School students are nursing 89 growing trees, mostly oaks, and more than 100 shrubs that will be planted on campus in 2021.

The project -- led by Samohi's gardening club -- "will leave a permanent green footprint on campus" after construction of the Discovery building is completed, District officials said.

The trees and shrubs are being grown by current and future Samohi students with adult support at the Samohi Branching Out Tree Nursery dedicated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on last Tuesday, officials said.

Raise the Tree
Samohi students at the school's Branching Out Nursery (Courtesy SMMUSD)

“Our main goals are to make this a long-term learning tool and build student ownership of the campus and encourage school pride,” said Caroline Coster, the district’s sustainability coordinator,who worked closely with the gardening club.

The idea, District officials said, "sprouted" from a simple question: “Why don’t we just grow our own trees” for the new Discovery building.

The Los Angeles-based nonprofit Tree People donated the acorns and the City of Santa Monica agreed to sponsor lessons on "raising trees and the environment in general," officials said.

It’s an awesome use of space” on the 26-acre campus, said Samohi Principal Dr. Antonio Shelton.

“To see these trees and realize the students’ foresight to plant something now and their willingness to give up their time and put in the work — that’s inspiring.”

Gardening club leader Molly McGee said the students don’t take the long-term responsibility lightly.

“We’re really excited,” she said. “But we know there’s also so much work left to do.”

A senior, McGee looks forward to seeing future students take over.

“We won’t be students here any longer," she said, "but these trees will be here forever.”


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