Members Area

Greening an Urban Schoolyard


May 31, 2022

Woodside-Atherton GC Assists with Replanting at a Menlo Park Elementary School

The greening of an urban schoolyard provided essential lessons for both local high school students as well as members of the Woodside-Atherton Garden Club (WAGC). The eucalyptus trees at a Menlo Park, CA elementary school needed to be removed. Eucalyptus are a moderately invasive species as well as a potential fire hazard. Due to poor maintenance, these specific trees were dropping branches onto the playground and there was real potential a child would be harmed.

Once the trees were removed, the school was keen to replant seventeen trees. They consulted with the urban reforestation group Canopy about more suitable replacements. “We’re always concerned about planting trees that have environmental resilience,” said Indira Selvakumaraswamy, Canopy’s Volunteer Engagement Manager. “After assessing the light and water available, along with the soil and pollution constraints, we came up with a list of native and slightly nonnative trees that would adapt well to the environment, including several types of oaks, African fern pine, Eastern redbud, and strawberry tree.”

During the planting, Canopy planting leaders directed WAGC members as well as high schoolers from nearby Eastside College Preparatory. Leftover construction rubble and compacted soil made the digging challenging—a pickaxe was necessary to break up the ground enough to plant eight 15-gallon native oaks. But ultimately, the planting team was successful and have high hopes that the oaks will not only provide shade but also be part of an environmental education program.

Referring to their teenage teammates, WAGC members said it was inspiring to have the next generation—many of whom are the first in their families who will attend college—leading the way.


See All News