Tree Planting Party: Community Climate Action to Build Community

A man plants a tree with a child

Treehouse Learning is hosting a community tree planting event on October 8th, 2023 from 2-5 pm!

In collaboration with the Cool Boulder and The Tree Trust at the Play Boulder Foundation, we hope you will join us for a community-action climate event to learn something and plant 12 new trees, together as a community! We’ll have arborists and Tree Tenders to share knowledge (a participatory workshop) and then we’ll roll up our sleeves and get planting! In addition to the tree planting, we’ll have food, music, an Eco-Brick demonstration, and a children’s clothing swap. Bring your family and join the festivities!

Tree Planting Party Update:

The party will have eco-friendly art activities, food, and music for families, community members, and other Boulder County Sustainability/ Resiliency partners. There is something for everyone- hang out for the community festivities, or bring a pair of work gloves to help dig holes for the 12 trees we’re putting in the ground! We’re looking to build some “volunteer planting teams” so please sign up here if you’d like to get involved in the actual planting part! 

Photo by Precious Plastic Melbourne on Unsplash

Children’s Clothing Swap!

In the vision of a circular economy, where children learn to care for materials and goods with the expectation that whatever item will remain on the planet for a long time if it is well cared for, we can pass along children’s clothes still in good condition as well! 

How it works: Please bring 1-10 items of children’s clothes to pass along, and drop off at Treehouse Learning between now and October. The idea is you can “shop” for what you’d like or need, but without any exchange of money. This is not about whether or not we can afford or choose to buy new clothes! Instead, we’re modeling a community where we don’t treat things like they are disposable, unconcerned with where they end up after they leave our hands, and passing along a small gift into the hands of another child!

What to bring for the Swap: 

  • Children’s winter gear… have a pair of boots you bought last year that are still brand new, but too small for your child? Trade them in! Snow pants, jackets, and boots are perpetual needs here in Colorado!
  • Costumes and dress-up clothes! (Halloween is right around the corner)
  • Outfits that aren’t your style, aren’t the right size, or just don’t spark joy!

Eco-Brick Clinic

We’re piloting an Eco-Brick program with large, 4000mL plastic containers and the single-use plastic primarily produced at Treehouse Learning. In order to be considered suitable for use as a dense building material (did you know you can even build houses and schools out of eco-bricks?), each of our bricks must weigh about 3 lbs. We’ve learned many skills and lessons about what and how to eco brick (all plastic must be clean and dry, and I use a metal knife sharpener to truly stuff and pack each eco brick).

You can read more on the Treehouse Learning Blog about Eco-bricking, and building environmental literacy at home with your children!

How we’ll use Eco Bricks

We’ll incorporate these eco-bricks into a small wall buried into the ground on one of our playgrounds. The product is made via a closed-loop system is also another example of a circular economy. The plastic trash we produce onsite is given a new purpose via a physical stuffing process to create a functional building material produced with materials we didn’t have to buy.

The plastic doesn’t end up in a landfill, an ocean, or our drinking water, but rather it now serves multiple functions: It becomes a balance beam for children to walk across, a barrier containing a sea of wood chips and classrooms of toddler feet, and a conversation starter for experiential, environmental learning. (We wish corporations wouldn’t produce never-ending single-use packaging and plastic in the first place, but in the meantime, from trash into treasure, as the saying goes!)

Community Action Events to Build Community!

Maple Sensation

From the tree planting to eco-based arts to our clothing swap to eco-bricks, this is a community-led event to demonstrate that the collective action of each of us (members of a local community) can have a positive climate impact (the outcome) through a process that actually builds community!

One of the ways we seek to live out our mission, vision, and values is through our holistic approach to supporting all children to thrive (this truly means all children), with the hope of being co-creators of a just and thriving world where more people have their needs truly met, and this includes a healthy planet. 

In the area of learning known as permaculture, along with the incorporation of traditional ecological knowledge based on our specific bio-region and watershed here on the Front Range, we’re considering our outdoor learning environments with the mindset of the children who will walk through this community seven generations from now.

Tree Planting Objectives

  • Shade on playgrounds
  • Cooler air temperatures (did you know planted spaces are extremely effective in countering the urban heat island effect?)
  • Bird and insect biodiversity
  • Sequestration of carbon in the soil
  • Oxygen and clean air
  • Rainwater management and water-wise rainwater planting
  • Pollinator food and wildlife habitat
  • Nature-based learning experiences
  • Beauty, art, and relationship with the living world around us
  • Experiential learning curriculum, including a living “arboretum”
  • Children’s improved mental health and well-being

Trees and Nature as Inspiration

In typical Treehouse Learning fashion, this tree-planting event is the catalyst for all sorts of embedded, experiential learning for our children.

According to research now over a decade old, children know the names of 100 corporate logos by age 3, while at the same time, a 2019 survey of British children found that 83% of children between ages 5-16 can’t identify a bumblebee. We believe that relationships with the living world are critical to a thriving future!

Here is a brief list of a few learning opportunities we’ll incorporate across our curriculum:

  • Children will learn the names of 9 different tree species, which they’ll learn to recognize by picture and sight
  • 12 new trees is such a fun number to count!
  • Cooking experiences centered around apples
  • Opportunities to learn (via song, of course) about our Boulder County watershed
  •  An eventual song about evapotranspiration, or the cooling effect of trees on surrounding air temperatures when water on leaves evaporates.

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