INDIANAPOLIS – Triston Harden and his classmates can feel the soil beneath their shoes and hear the leaves rustle overhead as they plant more trees on their campus. For them, making their school, Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, even more beautiful is worth the hard work – even if they will never see the final result.
“I really enjoy [planting trees] very much,” Harden said. “It means a lot to me, mostly because I get to hang out with people socializing and it makes our campus look a whole lot more beautiful.”
The Butler Botany Project began four years ago. Butler University and ISBVI students meet three times throughout the semester, learning about local plant life and building craft models, before coming together one final time to plant the trees they have been learning about. This year’s focus was on flowering trees that encourage bee colony growth.
ISBVI horticulture teacher Elizabeth Garvey and Butler biology professor Marva Meadows said they wanted to bring their campuses together to promote environmental awareness and personal growth.
“My students love collaborating with the Butler kids and I think it’s very mutual,” Garvey said. “It’s a learning process socially for them as well as it’s an educational program too.”
“[College students] can learn about what it means to do service and service is a really important quality that we hope our students will graduate with and understand,” Meadows said.
Garvey said the two campuses will come together for a similar program this spring as well.
As for Harden, he hopes to listen the spring breeze blowing through the leaves of the sugar maple tree he planted.
“I’m really excited – hoping our trees last,” Harden said.