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École McTavish students plant 2470 more trees after wildfire

Last Updated Jun 5, 2018 at 5:03 pm MST

PHOTO. Supplied. Students from École McTavish Junior High School’s environmental sustainability group, Eco YOLO helped plant 2470 White Spruce trees in Gregoire Lake Provinical Park with Alberta Park on June 1, 2018.

École McTavish Junior High School’s environmental sustainability group, Eco YOLO has once again made the region a little more green.

Last year the group, led by Krish Shah, Chintan Desai, Lokesh Patel, Heet Shah, Priyank Dave, and Parth Desai helped 200 students plant 1650 trees around Saprae Creek following the 2016 wildfire.

As part of phase two of their re-greening efforts the group chose to plant in Gregoire Lake Provincial Park this year after it reopened for the first time since 2500 hectares of the area was burned in the wildfire.

An estimated 400 grade seven and eight students got together on June 1, 2018 to plant 2470 White Spruce trees in the park.

For 14 year-old, grade nine student Krish Shah, it was a dream come true.

“It feels awesome.  Last year we piloted this.  From that we’ve doubled the amount of students who are here, and almost doubled the amount of trees planted.  To see our dream come true, and as kids, to make this happen – is great,” said Shah.

Chintan Desai, also a ninth grader, and co-founder of Eco YOLO, shared the same feelings about seeing the project grow and in such a special location.

“Gregoire Lake is the only beach we have. It’s the go-to place for families. So many people lost the only place to go camping, boating, and have fun. To finally help rebuild, and replant the trees, and help Gregoire Lake flourish again is a good feeling,” said Desai.

For Robynn Moody, Eco YOLO advisor and Science teacher at École McTavish the project was a full circle experience for her as she had evacuated to the Park on May 3, 2016 when the wildfires began.

“It’s pretty inspiring to see what a group of teens can do.  They’ve brought national attention to this issue,” said Moody.  It’s great to have Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) and École McTavish support the kids.  This wouldn’t be possible without FMPSD, and all our sponsors.  Thank you everyone.”

This years project was made possible with funding from Chevrolet Canada, Alberta Parks, and the Alberta Emerald Foundation with additional support provided by Tree Canada, Intact Insurance, Caring for Our Watersheds, and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.