By Tavia Moore
Hill Country Roots, a local service organization, has developed an initiative to plant trees throughout the city of Oxford and Lafayette County. To celebrate the endeavor, the group will present the community with a free tree planting workshop Sunday, Feb. 16 from 2-3 p.m. at the Old Armory Pavillion.
While members of the organization are eager to share their passion for plant life with the community, the inspiration behind this project stems far deeper than just a love for trees.
Maya Kaup, UM graduate student and host of the event, said Hills Country Roots was formed to discuss actions citizens can take to protect the environment.
“We all shared a love for trees and a concern about how many trees were being cut down for new developments,” Kaup said. “We started meeting every two weeks to discuss how we could preserve, protect and plant trees in our community.”
Kaup believes this project is a learning opportunity, particularly for those within the Oxford-Lafayette community who are not familiar with the importance of plant life. She said she hopes to increase the community’s knowledge of how to plant and maintain trees.
“Although many people in Oxford already understand the value of trees, not everyone understands how to properly plant one or keep it alive,” she said. “We hope this workshop will encourage a reverence for trees and their importance in our community.”
Kaup, along with another member of the organization, Milly West, look forward to the future of the Plant-a-Tree project and the impact it has on younger generations within the community.
“We owe it to our children to pay attention to the evidence of climate change,” West said. “We have to face it now in order to save this precious planet and our children’s future. To help counter the effects of warming our planet, we can at the very least plant and grow as many trees as possible and vow to save the ones we already have.”
West says the team will see their vision through by taking it to the campus of Oxford High School.
“After this initial tree planting workshop, the next big project will be to plant native trees on the campus of Oxford High School. Several Oxford High School and Oxford Middle School students have been attending meetings and will be volunteering at their schools to coordinate volunteers to plant trees,” she said.
While Hill Country Roots is a fairly new organization, Kaup remains hopeful for the group and the potential it has for impacting others.
“Having just started last September, we are still growing and building in many ways,” said Kaup. “We have talked about collaborating with the university for community service events and brainstormed about how to partner with sororities and fraternities on projects to be able to raise enough funds for our planned projects.”
Until those plans come to fruition, members of the community can donate to the project’s GoFundMe to raise money towards the trees that will be planted at Oxford High School.
The Plant-a-Tree workshop is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. Kaup, West and many other members of Hill Country Roots are excited and eager to share their passion and bring awareness to preserving plant life within the community, they said.