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I'm a Tulsa Kid: Conner Cass

Name: Connor Cass

School and Age: Holland Hall, 10th grade

Accomplishment: Founder of GreenTree of Tulsa (GTOT )

How did you get started doing GreenTree? In 8th grade science we had to come up with an idea that would benefit our Holland Hall community and then write a plan on how to implement it. We could choose to go at this assignment either from an environmental or educational standpoint. That project gave me a little bit of a background on creating and implementing a project and also got me thinking about what else I could do. About the time I was trying to start GreenTree of Tulsa (GTOT), I saw an article in the newspaper about an environmental competition put on by Polar Bears International and sponsored by the Tulsa Zoo. The competition helped give us fuel for the fire.

Who else is involved in GTOT ? Because of the restrictions placed upon us by Project Polar Bear, our group is limited to only three people. But I hope we can expand and recruit in the future.

What are some of the projects you have done? We knew we wanted to do something concerning planting trees, so in the summer of 2009 we had our first official meeting and came up the outline of our project. Along with planting large trees, we decided to implement a “pay it forward” program in Holland Hall’s primary school. We gave a presentation to the kids teaching them about the importance of taking care of the environment and how trees can help. We gave each of the 300 students two saplings, one to take home and plant in their own yard, and one to give to a neighbor. Each sapling had information about helping the environment and our project attached to it. By having the kids give one to a neighbor or friend, we were able to reach and educate even more people. We also planted 375 4-6 foot trees at some of The Tulsa Housing Authority’s (THA) locations. Not only did those trees help the environment, but they also helped to beautify low-income housing areas. We also planted around 15 trees with a Riverfield School Cub Scout group and 100 more on our Holland Hall campus. With everything combined, we have planted a total of 1,102 trees. THA is involved again this year and we are in the process of finding other locations to plant trees.

What does Project Polar Bear involve? It’s put on by Polar Bears International, and the purpose is to get youth to design and implement a project that will help the environment. We have a blog tied to the competition at www.polarbearsinternational.org/programs/project-polar-bear/teams/green-tree-tulsa
First prize is a trip to Churchill, Manitoba to study Polar Bears in the wild, but the contest isn’t the reason we are doing this.

Are you looking for sponsors or monetary support? We are looking for sponsors and monetary support to help further and expand our project. We have estimated that to do everything we hope to do we are going to need around $500 dollars. A big part of that budget consists of creating a website and donating books on environmental topics to local school libraries. At the moment we have no sponsors and no income and if we cannot find any money we will be unable to grow our project.

What do you feel you’ve learned from GreenTree of Tulsa? I have learned leadership skills and how to organize a group. I have also learned many things from having to meet and talk with important adults.

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