Indian River 9th graders plant trees to help environment

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 5:48 PM EDT
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TOWN OF PHILADELPHIA, New York (WWNY) - Students at Indian River High School spent part of their day planting trees and will soon release trout.

Their 9th grade earth science class took a hands-on approach when they were tasked with planting trees on a town of Philadelphia farm. A collaborative effort with Jefferson County conservation officials.

“We need to plant a lot of trees in this state and across the northeast for carbon sequestration reasons. Without the help and energy of those young people it’s going to be very difficult to do,” said Patrick Crast, executive director, Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation.

This specific effort targets a stream attached to Black Creek, where the students will be releasing trout they’ve been raising later this month.

“To see it from an egg to where it is now, a fingerling, it’s good,” said Leanne Bates, student.

Once grown, the trees will provide shade, reduce erosion of the bank and prevent large amounts of sediment buildup in the water, making it an ideal spawning ground for fish.

“So this will be a better environment when we’re done. Better for the farmer and also better for the fish,” said Andrea Inserra, teacher.

The hands-on approach was a real hit with students.

“We get to do things that most people won’t be able to do in their bio classes,” said Jassi Johnson.

“So some people take it for granted. I personally cherish it. I like being out here,” said Mykla Cossey.

In about 10 years time, the covers will be able to come off since the trees will be tall enough to stay out of reach of hungry deer. Then, the fledgling forest will start to take shape.

“So this is going to be really rewarding for years to come. I just told the kids come back. Come back years and years later and see what you did,” said Inserra.

Another group of students will be returning to finish the job on Monday.