Plan-It Earth Planting Trees for Earth Day at Otterbein

Posted Apr 09, 2021

Student organization Plan-it Earth will plant trees at The Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science and the Otterbein Community Garden on April 10 in preparation for the celebration of Earth Day, recognized annually on April 22.

“Earth Day celebrations have been part of our green work at Otterbein for over 16 years, helping students to understand ways to decrease their carbon footprint and get engaged in their community,” said Melissa Gilbert, director of the Center for Community Engagement. “This year’s tree planting comes at a time when renewing our commitment to the natural world is increasingly important.”

Plan-It Earth takes an activist approach to addressing environmental issues, with a focus on fostering environmentally friendly practices and awareness on campus and in the community. Plan-It Earth plans activities that encourage and challenge Otterbein students to make steps to reduce, re-use, and recycle.

“I wanted to be part of affecting change on campus from an environmental standpoint so I joined Plan-It Earth,” said member Shania Turner ’22. “For this year’s Earth Day project, we looked around campus and brainstormed ways we could make positive changes right now at a student level. This brainstorming led us to the Equine Center.”

Spruce trees will be planted at the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science, providing much-needed wind protection. The Equine Center and its horse barn are prone to wind gusts blowing through the corridors and not receiving much relief from harsh winter weather. These trees will serve as a natural barrier while creating new habitat for local fauna.

“We view this as a first step to see how many people we can inspire to get involved with sustainability on campus,” Turner said. “We want the campus community to stop and think about how they can be ecologically aware and create positive change.”

Plan-It Earth’s tree planting event is funded by an Otterbein Student Life Grant. Grants are given to help promote student engagement and enhance the overall student experience at Otterbein. This program offers support for the planning and delivery of initiatives that are aimed at improving the student experience at Otterbein.

In addition to the planting at the Equine Center, some Plan-It Earth members and other community volunteers will be planting fruit trees at the Otterbein Community Garden. These new trees will provide fresh produce for Otterbein students through the Promise House food and resource center, and for local food-insecure families.