Students from Coventry Middle School (CMS) have made great strides with regards to improving habitat and water quality at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeast Ohio. For the past three years CMS students have worked with park staff to plant native trees in a former farm field along Furnace Run within the National Park. The direct benefit of their work is that these trees will continue to improve not only habitat within the park, but as they grow, they will provide shade and strong roots. The shade provided by these trees will continue to cool the water, making it better for dissolved oxygen within the stream as well as an improved habitat for cold water loving organisms. The deep roots will strengthen the river bank thus reducing erosion and decreasing turbidity over time. CMS students are always excited to be able to give of their time and energy to make this project an annual success.

How to Take Action:

You can take action to plant trees and restore critical habitat along local waterways in your community.

• Contact your community garden club or members of your city’s or county’s tree commission for projects your school could be involved in.

• Be sure to reach out to the proper authorities to get their approval before planning a tree planting, and research native species to plant.  

• Tree growers in your area are always willing to help and maybe willing to donate trees to your efforts.

• Your town’s zoning commission may have projects that involve an environmental education component for school groups.

• Recruit your classmates, friends, family, and community members to assist with your efforts.

• Find out what your city’s requirements are to become an Arbor Day “Tree City, USA”.  

For more inspiration, check out our EarthEcho International How to Host a Tree Planting in Your Community guide and this video highlighting the work of Coventry Middle School Students.

Story shared by Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ranger Josh Bates and Coventry Middle School Teacher Jim Trogdon.