Organizations from across Northwest Indiana gathered together on Friday morning to take steps toward a more sustainable environment. Two tulip trees and one honey locust tree were planted in Griffith Central Park Friday morning to add to a greener community. Members from the Partners for Clean Air, Metro Recycling and the Sanitary District came together to give back to the region.
“This event is partnered with Partners for Clean Air, and it gives us an opportunity to give back to the community. There was a new park here, so it was a perfect opportunity to come out and plant some new trees,” said Olivia Sanders of Metro Recycling, who was primarily involved in organizing the day’s event.
General Manager of the Michigan City Sanitary District and member of the Partners for Clean Air, Michael Kuss, has a passion for a greener community. He has been in the environmental field for more than 30 years.
“Trees are vital to the quality of our life. Growing up in Northwest Indiana and seeing the issues over my life with air and water pollution is where it all started. If everyone does their part, little by little we can actually improve air quality and improve the quality of life,” said Kuss.
Volunteers also came out to lend a helping hand to their passion of making the community more sustainable.
“The Department of Natural Resources had a class on trees so I got certified as a tree steward, which means helping people plant new trees and giving them advice. [Events like these] Make our town look pretty,” explained volunteer and Purdue Extension Master Gardener Valerie Wotkun. “Trees provide shade and help our air quality. I like that people get excited for it. In a couple years they'll say ‘Hey I’m sitting under this tree that I helped plant.’ Overall it’s just nice to give back,” said Wotkun.
CEO of Metro Recycling, Neil Samahon, said, “We like doing events that help the environment, and one of those acts are planting trees. It’s an in kind donation. I’ve been with Metro Recycling for 23 years and over the years I found that the best way for us to show our appreciation is to find ways to engage in the community. We ask what can we do to assist with the locals the region. They benefit from us being here as we benefit from the communities that support us.”
The trees planted will grow and shade over the Griffith Central Park playground. In years to come, individuals can come back to where it all started and see how their tree planting has sprouted to help a greener and more eco-friendly community.