- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
This spring, Marion D’Aurora, a seventh-grader attending Mother Catherine Spalding School, initiated a project that encouraged her fellow students and parishioners of her school’s five supporting parishes to purchase and plant trees to help support the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
At the beginning of the school year, D’Aurora was given an assignment to write a persuasive speech, and she chose to write about saving the bay. She learned in her research the bay’s dead zones and fish kills caused by algae blooms, and that the primary causes of algae blooms are human activities on land that increase nutrient runoff and global warming. She learned that trees help reduce both of these problems.
Encouraged by her principal, Jessica Bowles, D’Aurora was originally going to ask for donations to help plant a tree grove at Mother Catherine Spalding. “But that was only going to be 16 trees, it didn’t seem like a lot,” D’Aurora said in a statement. So, she decided to step it up a notch. She asked if she could sell trees and then use the proceeds to plant the tree grove and potentially also plant some at the supporting parishes.
D’Aurora coordinated with Mike Combs of Wentworth Nursery, who assisted with finding manageable-sized trees and then provided them at cost. D’Aurora spoke after Mass to Our Lady of the Wayside Parish and developed and distributed flyers to the other parishes.
Overall, 175 trees have been planted through this effort.
“Marion may be helping to plant trees to protect the Chesapeake Bay, but, more importantly, she is planting seeds of stewardship in the hearts and minds of those she has told about her project,” said Madelyn Mergner, the teacher who assigned the speech to D’Aurora.
“Many people think saving the bay is too hard and takes too much work,” D’Aurora said. “But each of us can make a difference. We could plant a tree, with the loss of trees from the hurricane, it is more important than ever. So I ask each of you, to please help save the Chesapeake Bay by planting a tree.”