NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans and former Titans offensive lineman Zach Piller teamed up with the Tennessee State Parks Junior Ranger Program and Appalachia Cares AmeriCorps to plant trees with over 100 students at Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School this afternoon.
Tree planting is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to positively affect the environment, with social, health and financial benefits. In addition, students have been found to concentrate better after playing in a natural setting.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for students to participate in a service learning project that positively benefits their school as well as the surrounding community," said Brock Hill, Deputy Commissioner for Tennessee State Parks.
"Creating this urban forest in the community is very important due to all of the many great benefits that such a contribution can provide," said Sylvia Alsup, Appalachia Cares AmeriCorps member. "These trees will reduce the pollution in our air, surface water runoff from storms, soil erosion and sedimentation in streams, as well as lessen transportation of chemicals to local streams.
"In addition to establishing an urban forest, these trees will also provide habitat and food for wildlife which will create wonderful learning opportunities for the children," Alsup continued. "Additionally, the school plans to turn these trees into an outdoor educational exhibit and the students will get to have a hand in planning that on Tuesday!"
The trees were provided to Tennessee State Parks by their State Division of Forestry seedling nursery in Delano, Tenn., currently the only nursery in operation in the state. Depending on seed availability and seedling demand, five species of pines and 40 or more species of hardwoods are produced at this facility annually. The nursery currently produces 6 to7 million high quality seedlings each growing season and serves over 800 customers annually.
Seedlings are planted for various reasons, the most significant being timber production, wildlife habitat improvement and water quality protection.
"The environment, health and wellness of all Tennesseans is something the Titans take very seriously," said Brad McClanahan, Titans director of marketing. "Our goal here today is to have fun, while making a positive difference for our community."
The students also potted trees that will be planted in Tennessee State Parks this summer by the Junior Rangers for their Stewardship projects, which are required for completion of the Junior Ranger Program.
Robert Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary School is Nashville's first museum magnet school. The school utilizes partnerships with local organizations to expose youth to meaningful cultural opportunities. One such partnership is with Tennessee State Parks Junior Ranger Program, which works with youth ages 6 to 14 to get outdoors and be active in parks. Additionally, the Titans have partnered with State Parks on the Play 60 Program, which travels to schools to educate youth on the benefits of making healthy food choices and being active for 60 minutes a day. The school has participated in the Junior Ranger School Programs as well as the Play 60 Program.
Titans mascot, T-Rac, Tennessee State Parks mascot, Ramble and Titans cheerleaders, Jessi and Brittni were on hand to help everyone plant trees.
Earth Day is April 22 and has become an annual reminder of our responsibility to be good "park rangers" of our earth. Trees are our lifeline to cleaner air and a healthier environment.