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Volunteer Eva Miller Reflects on Work with People for Trees

January 12, 2023


“Was there a planting that inspired you?”

I was incredibly inspired by my tree planting experience on October 18th with Holden’s Tree Corp and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. My volunteer group from Magnificat High School was composed of students that have a passion for horticulture and serving others, and the planting was a formative learning experience for us. I was inspired by the communal environment and respect for the neighborhood’s residents as well as the educational aspect of the tree planting. The purpose of the planting—to improve the tree canopy and the health and wellbeing of the residents—was evident throughout my time spent with the volunteers. Everyone involved, regardless of experience, worked together and helped each other throughout every single step of planting the trees. I had conducted research on the low urban canopy cover in Cleveland and its intersectionality with racial and socioeconomic injustices, and I am incredibly grateful that I was able to participate in this act of hands-on, impactful service. This tree planting addressed and worked towards not only replenishing the tree canopy but also eliminating the injustices that stem from the low canopy cover in Central Cleveland.

“How do trees impact your life?”

Trees provide me with health benefits and ecosystem services. Trees filter toxic chemicals from the air and water. Trees provide me with shade and they are home to many of my favorite birds, animals, and insects. Not only do trees benefit my physical health, but they also impact my mental health and well-being. Access to greenspace and the beauty of trees is a privilege that I am extremely grateful for. Specifically, I am able to experience the calming effects of trees at my nearest Cleveland Metroparks as well as at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

“What was your group’s perspective on our Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority planting?”

My group was made up of high school students, so many of us had no experience with planting trees. However, the CMHA planting’s atmosphere was incredibly encouraging and educational. No girl in my group went without a role or task in the process, and no one ever felt bored because we were all eager to give ourselves more work to do. From my perspective and from the feedback from many of the girls in my group, it was an amazing experience for us to get involved in our community and be part of real change. Additionally, this CMHA planting prompted a re-established horticulture and service- based relationship between Magnificat High School’s Seeds of Service Club and Holden Forests and Gardens.

Eva Miller

People for Trees Volunteer

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