Oak Park Middle School, one of the project's planting sites.

Oak Park Middle School, one of the project’s planting sites.

Project Location:
Multiple sites, southwest Louisiana

Key Activities:

  • Planting 1,000 trees across 62 schoolyards
  • Reforesting areas affected by a hurricane
  • Increasing educational opportunities for students
  • Improving wildlife habitat

Project Description:
Working with the Calcasieu Parish School System, Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are planting trees at each of the system’s 62 schools to restore areas damaged by a hurricane and to add tree canopy to schoolyards currently devoid of trees.

Why This Project:
In 2005, category-three Hurricane Rita wiped out trees on approximately a third of the Calcasieu Parish School System’s campuses, eliminating wildlife habitat, educational opportunities and more. Additionally, many of the other campuses exist on barren land or former woodland that was cleared decades ago. By planting trees with the help of local students at each school, this project is providing the area’s children with hands-on experience, while expanding wildlife habitat and the other benefits that healthy trees provide, including water and air filtration.

Why Calcasieu Parish School System:
Calcasieu Parish School System serves more than 33,000 students at 33 elementary, 13 middle and 11 high schools. By assigning certain grade levels at each school with the responsibility to care for and monitor the planted trees, this project is designed to enhance the system’s curriculum in science, art and foundation skills, as well helping to build teamwork. At each school, the assigned classes and students are responsible for measuring soil composition and acidity as well as moisture and drainage at the planting sites to help ensure the survival of the newly planted trees.