I first met teachers Ms. Monika Hannemann and Ms. Monikk Gray in 2013 when Ms. Hannemann applied for trees at Weequahic High School in Newark. Ms. Hannemann and Ms. Gray were instrumental in turning a once barren Chancellor Avenue into a shady tree-lined street. The Weequahic High School planting event had a significant impact on their students, the neighborhood, and the women themselves.
When Ms. Hannemann began teaching at University High School, she saw a need for trees there too. In the spring of 2017, we planted 15 trees with students to line the front facade of their school and the back courtyard. As Principal Mendez mentioned, the hedge maples, ginkgos, and tree lilacs “will grow alongside the students who planted them.”
It is incredibly inspiring to work alongside passionate teachers and young adults who are thrilled to help green their neighborhoods. At the most recent planting at University High School, Ms. Hannemann described the importance of planting trees with youth. “I love interacting with students outside of a traditional classroom setting, working towards a common goal. Some students who do not excel as much in the classroom stood out as leaders at this tree planting,“ she explained with a look of pride.
This beautiful history of greening Newark’s schools and connecting urban youth to trees is only possible with your donations. Please help us continue to inspire youth and adults alike while making our cities greener by donating to the NJ Tree Foundation this December.