Atholton Adventist Academy students in Columbia, Maryland, United States, participated in “Go Green With ADRA” to commemorate the U.S. National Arbor Day, which is observed in the final week of April. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) launched the “Go Green With ADRA” initiative to inspire young people to learn about the benefits of planting trees for more sustainable and livable communities.
“With the world facing unprecedented climate change challenges, [we are] promoting environmental awareness and stewardship,” Imad Madanat, vice president for programs at ADRA International, said. “We are excited to partner with schools like Atholton, the cities where we live, and the communities where we serve globally to help safeguard the environment and build resiliency against the impact of climate change.”
Madanat added that “since trees can help clean our air, prevent soil erosion, and are important for wildlife, ADRA is thrilled to work with Atholton students to go green by expanding the tree ecosystem around their school. We hope this planting experience can sow seeds of care and compassion among young people to protect natural resources and foster a healthy future for our communities and generations to come.”
The “Go Green With ADRA” ceremony on the school ground focused on teaching forestation techniques to children and teens. ADRA guides instructed the novice gardeners how to properly prepare the ground for the planting of 40 redbud trees, which were donated by the non-profit organization in remembrance of its 40th year of providing international humanitarian work.
“This is a great opportunity for us,” Atholton Adventist Academy principal Miya Kim said. “For Arbor Day, we can not only celebrate the beauty and wonder of the earth God gave us as a home but also commemorate ADRA’s 40 years of life-sustaining service to people all around the world. Planting trees is such a powerful statement of hope and investing in the future. Trees are life-giving. I think this makes a tree a fitting symbol of ADRA’s mission and of its contribution to communities and nations.
“ADRA is a positive change-maker,” Kim added. “We know ADRA doesn’t just provide temporary aid to people in crisis but also stays in communities and partners with them to build for the future. We want our students to be positive change-makers as well and see the importance of investing in and caring for both our earth and its people. We want them to know about the tangible and life-changing effects that even planting a tree can have on people.”
The “Go Green With ADRA” initiative also included educational activities on smart reforestation practices used by ADRA to reduce erosion, improve farming soil, and boost food sources for underprivileged communities around the world, the organization leaders said. The humanitarian agency is also conducting numerous environmentally friendly projects to establish tree nurseries that enhance seedling quality and growth, ensure plant survival, and increase tree plantings.