Earth Week kicks off with Annual Tree Planting

Saddleback College refreshes its roots at the Environmental Awareness Club’s second Annual Tree Planting event Monday, April 21.

Kyle Hedden, 19-year-old environmental studies major assists Professor John Richards at Saddleback College's Environmental Awareness Club's annual tree planting April 21, 2014.

Kyle Hedden, 19-year-old environmental studies major assists Professor John Richards at Saddleback College’s Environmental Awareness Club’s Annual Tree Planting April 21, 2014. (Matt Corkill)

About 15 students and two EAC advisers gathered to plant a water birch tree in the in the Technology and Applied Sciences Native Garden.

“The water birch (Betula occidentalis) will be replacing our black willow, which is dying,” said Environmental Studies Assistant Professor John Richards. “It’s a California native plant that will grow quickly up to 15 or 20 feet with moderate sunlight.”

EAC teamed up with the Associated Student Government to organize their first event for Earth Week which is held from April 21 to 24.

“The whole week is full of different activities in order to bring awareness,” said Environmental Studies Department Chair Dr. Morgan E. Barrows.  “This is my favorite Earth Week event, though.”

The California Native Garden behind TAS is also a Nationally Certified Wildlife Habitat. 

“We don’t use chemical pesticides, no synthetic fertilizers,” Barrows said. “As you can see, we compost and we propagate. It’s a whole little factory over here.”

Laith Atiweh, 21-year-old environmental engineering major, assisted in digging up a hole for the new tree. He said that his part in the event is not just for extra credit.

“I heard about it from one of my professors and thought it’d be a cool way to just give back to the campus,” Atiweh said.

The event was seen a successful start to Earth Week.

“We had a great turnout,” said President of the Environmental Awareness Club Drew Yearwood. “This event is one where you can really get your hands dirty while giving back to the environment.”

Visit the Environmental Awareness Club’s Facebook page for more information.

The tree planting can be viewed on the Lariat’s YouTube channel.

Updated at 10:59 a.m. on April 26, 2014.