Nature stewards in the making

By Canopy Team on June 6, 2016

Junior Foresters end-of-year "graduation" ceremony

We’re so proud of our Willow Oaks Junior Foresters!

These 4th and 5th graders at Willow Oaks Elementary School in Menlo Park explored and cared for trees on their school campus all year long as part of a Canopy pilot program.

The group of 20 students met once a month after school with Canopy’s Tree Care and Education Manager, Natalia, and our team of Teen Urban Foresters (TUFs).

Led by the TUFs, Junior Foresters were responsible for watering their school trees, removing weeds and trash, and spreading mulch. They also participated in hands-on lessons about plant structures and functions, tree growth, and native oak trees.

Watching their trees grow

Some students who worked with Canopy last year were excited to see the fruits of the labor. During one session last year, students planted a sapling Island Oak, which they named “Spike.”

Spike quickly became a mini celebrity among the after-school students, who would check on their tree almost daily.


Students pose with “Spike” after planting the Island Oak in 2015.

This year, the students were excited to continue caring for Spike—and to see how much their tree grew in a year!

Celebrating a year of exploration and stewardship

Last week, all of the Junior Foresters “graduated” during a ceremony under their school’s iconic willow tree (see photos).

They took the Tree Steward Pledge, presented posters about what they’ve learned, and received their official Junior Forester certificates.


As one student wrote on their poster, “I felt happy because I got to help my community become a better place.” Another student wrote, “With Canopy…we learn to keep the environment safe and healthy and good.”

These students are nature stewards in the making. We can’t wait to work with another group of Junior Foresters next year!

Get Involved

If you’re interested in teaching and inspiring a new generation of nature stewards, check out Canopy’s interactive school programs, or learn about our annual Education Leader Training.


Junior Foresters share what they’ve learned:


Junior Foresters poster of his planting team

See more Junior Forester photos and posters…

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