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Planting the seed of environmental stewardship

Circling around a newly planted Chinese Elm sapling, a dozen Luther Burbank Middle School sixth-graders joined hands and admired their work.

“Trees need people; people need trees,” they chanted. “Welcome, Alex!”

“Alex,” thus named by the Luther students, was one of 15 trees added Thursday to the campus landscape. The planting event brought together volunteers from Impact, the Warner Bros. employee giving program; TreePeople, a nonprofit environmental organization; and 325 science students.

Among the Impact volunteers were several Luther alums, who said they were thrilled to be giving back to their former school.


“I have been doing this since I started at Warner Bros. about four years ago,” said Impact volunteer Erika Bruno. “It is just a great way to give back to the city I grew up in. It is a great program. It is great to be outdoors and helping our city in any way we can.”

Participants cycled through three stations, tree planting, tree mulching and tree care, where they learned the basics of tree health. The sixth-graders will be tasked will caring for the trees during their three-year stay at Luther.

The event, which built on a similar planting day that took place at the campus last year, was appropriate given that the school’s namesake, Luther Burbank, was an accomplished botanist, Principal Anita Schackmann said.

“We just want to create a space that is conducive to learning,” she said. “When we plant, we feel we are paying tribute to the person our school was named after.”