by Said Bennani
On January 16, 2017, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) distributed thousands of trees in 50 locations throughout 16 provinces in a coordinated national effort to raise awareness of the environment and of Morocco’s sustainable development goals.
One success story comes from the students who attend the Tidili-Mesfioua Boarding School for Girls. Last year HAF delivered 25 pomegranate trees, 50 almond trees, 50 pine trees, and 62 carob trees to this school. Though several of the trees were still small saplings when they were delivered, one year later the trees had not only survived but were thriving! HAF staff were delighted to see the trees growing so well and are very proud of the girls, teachers, and administrators who supported the trees’ growth.
The students at the Tidili-Mesfioua Dormitory School for Girls faced a number of challenges before last year’s tree planting event, including determining the best places in the schoolyard to plant the saplings. They also found many stones in the soil while digging and had to till the soil to give the trees a good foundation.
Despite the initial challenges, the trees grew big and strong during the past year! The students identified three factors that contributed to their successful tree planting project:
The students invested time in completing a comprehensive environmental education curriculum during the first tree planting which helped them understand the importance of properly caring for their garden.
The school had an adequate water supply during the entire year and the responsibility of taking care of the trees was a united effort shared by many.
Administrators strongly supported the tree planting program and set out to be an exemplary model for other schools while at the same time providing their students with ample opportunities to experience new endeavors.
Agriculture is a major industry in Al Haouz Province, so many of the students’ families were already knowledgeable about tree cultivation. HAF’s tree planting project further increased the students’ knowledge of and appreciation for plants, particularly the work involved in properly caring for the trees and the immense satisfaction of seeing the trees grow and thrive.
When asked for her opinion about caring for the trees, one student said, “Every person is responsible for taking care of our school, including our garden. We work together to make our school a shining example in our city.”
The teachers believe that the project has been a great learning experience for the students. The students not only learned more about caring for trees and the environment but also worked collectively in groups to keep their school grounds clean and inviting to coincide with the beauty of the natural plants and greenery. The students will also learn important business skills when they sell the food products that the trees produce.
HAF thanks all the students, teachers, administrators and families who are making National Tree Planting Day 2017 a huge success!