Materials for Activity
- A tree seedling for planting
- Several shovels (ideally, one for each participant)
- Planting soil/fertilizer
- Garden hose and/or watering can(s)
Preparation for Activity
- Talk to your congregation's minister, religious educator, building and grounds committee, and/or building staff about where your group could plant a tree on the congregation's grounds. If the grounds cannot accommodate a tree planting, arrange an offsite location or consider contributing a potted tree to an indoor space in your building.
- If you will travel off-site, arrange for travel to and from the site where the tree will be planted, secure adequate adult supervision, and provide the details on field trip permission forms for all participants.
- Obtain a tree seedling appropriate for the location you have chosen. If you are unsure what type of tree to plant and what special care may be required, ask at a local nursery which sells plants and tree starters.
- Prepare the outdoor place for your seedling by digging a large hole, enriching the soil with fertilizer, and taking any additional steps recommended for your particular tree.
- If your congregation includes any proficient gardeners, consider enlisting their help. They might assist you in selecting a seedling, determining an ideal location for planting, advise you on soil preparation and post-planting care, and help lead the planting activity.
- You may wish to prepare a few words for a brief ritual once the tree is planted.
Description of Activity
Gather the group around the hole (or large pot) where the tree will be planted. Enlist their aid in transferring the seedling to the hole in the ground and removing any temporary pot or protective coverings from the seedling and its roots.
Holding the plant steady in the hole, invite each participant to shovel at least one portion of dirt or soil into the hole. Pass shovels around the group as necessary.
Once the tree is firmly planted, share any brief ritual you have prepared. Invite the participants to reflect on and share their hopes and wishes for the tree they just planted. You might model or prompt with suggestions such as "adding more oxygen to our atmosphere" or "offering a place for the younger children to play once it grows larger."
Including All Participants
Pair a participant who cannot grasp and manipulate a shovel with someone who can help them as needed to fill the shovel with dirt and add the dirt to the hole.