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Seeds of Hope: A Day of Tree Planting and Community Engagement in Rhamna

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byKarma Salloum
onJanuary 22, 2024

Every year, on the High Atlas Foundation’s (HAF) annual Tree Planting Day, the HAF team travels to cities and villages across the country to engage in tree planting activities with local communities and partners. This year, I had the opportunity to join one team to visit the Wlad Azzouz wa Qoba school in the Rhamna province, where we planted carob trees with students.

Before setting off on the drive to Rhamna from Marrakech, we prepared the material - the small trees, shovels, and watering cans - and got ready to go. Upon arriving at the school, we were warmly greeted by the excited children, teachers, and principal. Mustapha, a Tree Monitoring Officer at HAF, started the activity by gathering all the students to discuss climate change with them.

To engage the students in the discussion, Mustapha began asking them what effects of climate change they’ve noticed in their hometowns, what causes of climate change they know of, and how they believe they can take part in solving it. After some encouragement, many students became eager to participate and share their observations and ideas. This was a critical component of the activity: by actively involving students in conversations about climate change, they will be better prepared to help protect their own environments from the effects of climate change.

After the engaging and thought-provoking discussion, we all received a demonstration from HAF's tree-planting experts on how to plant carob trees. We quickly began to plant around the school courtyard. The students also participated, some placing the trees in the ground, others adding soil on top, and the rest taking turns watering the plants once they were covered. After we planted around 20 trees, the principal held a heartwarming closing ceremony where he thanked HAF, his students, and everyone involved in the activity and expressed hope for future environment-related partnerships.

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Activities like this are so important as they show that sustainable climate solutions are not merely about planting trees, for instance, but that when solutions are paired with community engagement and knowledge sharing, environmental stewardship is fostered, and lasting impact can be created. This year, we managed to raise awareness about climate change among school children while planting over 3,000 trees to mitigate the effects of climate change. In the coming years, Tree Planting Day will continue to allow us to engage local communities, spread climate change awareness, and plant seeds of hope for a greener, more sustainable future.