Kyndall Womack planted trees at a middle school


My junior year of high school, I took my school’s AP Environmental Science Class and was assigned a community project that was oriented on helping the environment. I formed a group and we decided to plant trees at the newly built middle school to attempt to replant the nearly clear cut campus. As we considered the project further we realized the far reaching implications of this project.

Not only will these trees provide habitats, they will prevent erosion, help to purify the air for the community’s children, provide shade, beautify the campus, and help to unify this new school with the rest of the town. After many, many emails back and forth to determine if this project is even a possibility and find a time we could all be free, we met with the middle school principal. When I mentioned how this project could connect his school with the high school and through that with the old middle school and community at large, he jumped at the opportunity. I was confident in my goal. However, I found myself blocked by red tape at every turn and trying to get the help of my group members was like herding cats. I had to deal with watering schedules and possible water lines and making sure the trees would be far enough away from the building. We eventually decided where to plant, but we still had no trees.

We launched a fundraising project that required the approval of the high school, and ran into issues ordering the products to sell. We asked everyone we knew and many we didn’t to help our cause. Then, I found an organization that gave free trees to Austin citizens, and we thankfully acquired four trees. By now, this semester long assignment had extended well into the next year.

I found myself juggling two sports, my classes, and this immense project. We finally found a day to plant our trees. Part of the group met at the school in the middle of the day and began beating on the hard rock to dig the holes. Once the mulch had been spread around the trees, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. This project resulted in upwards of 40 service hours. The trees are now doing better than expected, and I know that I’ve planted a lasting legacy in my town.

— Kyndall Womack, 19, Texas