Wright-Patt partners with high school to plant seeds for sustainable future

  • Published
  • By Brian Dietrick
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Wright-Patterson Air Force Base celebrated their 26th year as a Tree City USA destination by planting tree seedlings in partnership with Fairborn High School students on Arbor Day April 5.

The event, organized by the 88th Civil Engineer Group, welcomed teachers and students from the Fairborn High School’s Environmental Club to plant more than 300 tree seedlings near the Huffman Prairie Flying Field. The work furthered the groups’ shared goal to enhance and protect natural habitats in the community and make them sustainable into the future. 

“We are planting maple, shagbark hickory, serviceberry and oak tree seedlings,” said Danielle Trevino, biological scientist with 88 CEG and the event lead. “We chose these species primarily for their benefits to certain bat species.”

The Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat call certain areas of the installation home and are both listed as “endangered” by the State of Ohio and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The upgrades to the landscape will provide summer roosting and foraging habitats for these bat species, according to Trevino.

Scott Vincent, 88 CEG director, kicked off the event as he read the Arbor Day Proclamation letter.

“I urge all citizens to celebrate Arbor Day and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands,” said Vincent. “I urge all citizens to plant trees to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations.”

After the proclamation, teams split up on each side of Trout Creek and started planting seedlings along the road that leads to the flying field parking lot. The teachers and students discussed the importance of biodiversity, sustainability and other nature-related topics as they planted the seedlings.

“We have a lot of students who are interested in doing something in our community,” said Amanda Taylor, Fairborn High School biology teacher. “I think it's important for these kids to do projects they can come and visit later. That's why this is amazing: because they can come here year-round. They can bring their friends and say, ‘I did that. I was a part of something special.’”

This was Taylor’s third year bringing students to partner with Wright-Patterson, and according to Taylor, she and her students look forward it to every year.

“We had a great day working with local students who will be able visit the site for years to come and show their families the results of their hard work and dedication,” said Trevino.

Started in 1976, Tree City USA is one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s oldest programs. The founders of the organization had a vision for a greener, healthier America and hoped this initiative would inspire change nationwide.