The predominant feature on many school campuses in Phoenix is concrete, but students from St. John Bosco Interparish School in Ahwatukee Foothills changed the look of their school last Thursday when they took part in the “Trees for Success” tree planting program.

St. John Bosco Interparish was chosen from a competitive grant-writing process to be one of 13 sites nationwide to receive new trees on its campus. The program was sponsored and coordinated by The Home Depot Foundation and the Arbor Day Foundation.

“The students jumped right in and got their hands dirty, and we planted 73 trees,” said Shelley Conner, principal of St. John Bosco Interparish. “Some of the kids named their trees, and we talked about the fact that 50 years from now they’re going to be able to come back and see the trees they planted.”

St. John Bosco Interparish was chosen for the “Trees for Success” program based on its need for trees, civic and local support, student involvement and plan for tree upkeep.

Conner is looking forward to the numerous benefits the trees will provide to her student body.

“We’re going to have more shade, and we’ve got a lot of concrete in Phoenix so the trees will help cool things down,” she said. “The way they decided to place the trees gives us a buffer from the freeways, so now the kids will have filtered oxygen.”

The trees also make the exterior of St. John Bosco a little more pleasing to the eye.

“The landscape already looks a lot different, and it’s very welcoming,” Conner said.

So far, the “Trees for Success” program has planted more than 1,000 trees in schools and parks across the U.S. For more information on the program and why trees are beneficial to communities, visit www.arborday.org.

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