In just two Saturdays, with the help of a community-based environmental organization known as TreePeople, Northridge Middle School students, families, and educators eagerly put on their gardening gloves and pitched in to plant 36 new trees along their recreational field.

Northridge Middle School students were excited to be part of something that will improve the experience for generations of students to come. As we hit new record temperatures every year, comprehensive campus greening is imperative to keeping schools cool and preventing heat exhaustion and other heat-related dangers. Plus, access to ample green space improves the overall well-being of everyone on campus.

PE coach Adrian Estrada and School Climate Advocate Irene Morales worked with school administration to bring TreePeople to campus. Educators at Northridge Middle School leveraged their designated Community School status and the school’s focus on expanding green spaces to bring their idea to reality.

In addition to planting trees, the group of students, parents, educators, and community members spent last Saturday planting flowers outside the school’s entrance, sweeping, and picking up trash. Northridge Community School Coordinator Romelia Valiquette described it as “a day of community, and a day of beautification.”

Educators and our school communities are ready to roll up our sleeves and get in the dirt to make our school campuses filled with shady trees and green fields — not asphalt and concrete.

As part of our 2022-25 contract fight, we pushed the district to commit to working with us to expand and maintain campus green space. Through our organizing and collective power, we will hold the district to their commitment and ensure that every school has enough green space for all to enjoy.