Red’s Green Thumb

How West High is doing their part for the planet, little bits at a time



West Lake Park is one of the most well-known family fun destinations in Davenport. Activities range from swimming, grilling, and even paddle boat rentals!

Aiden Kroeger, Reporter

John Arnold, beloved West High biology teacher, nature lover, leader of West’s Ecology Club, and the proud owner of a pair of pet snakes, along with a small group of his Ecology Club pupils were invited by Scott County Conservation out to West Lake Park in Scott County to be part of an initiative to establish fifteen extra trees around the park on the 8th of this October.

The trees were evenly planted around the park area, between the shore, forest, and the leisure areas. This project is going ahead after Scott County Conservation received a state grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to fund the planting of some extra vegetation. The decision to plant the trees has come partially to try and combat the dwindling population of both ash borer flies and ash trees in the surrounding area, as well as a want for more shaded leisure areas from West Lake’s management.

“We need more carbon sinks, we need more carbon storage, and to store carbon [in] trees is a tried and true way to have a long-term storage of carbon, a constant source of photosynthesis, and also I think the project in general, it’s good for people to get out and connect and/or connect with nature,” Arnold said.

Arnold believes this is an important project to undertake. With a carbon concentration of roughly 412 parts per million and growing according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s climate division, whatever carbon photosynthesis strategies there are need to be utilized.

“Y’know, they say that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the next best time is now,” Arnold added.

Few could deny that in today’s technological day and age, every kid could use some extra outside time, and what better way to do it than while making friends and educating them on how to consider the needs of future generations, and how to tackle the world’s climate problems?

“-I think getting hands-on with nature is a whole new perspective, so hopefully those experiences will last a lifetime, and in a way, it’s like planting seeds– when you think about how we can make positive impacts and keep building on it as we grow,” said Arnold. 

According to Scott County’s website, the money received from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will also purchase trees for Buffalo Shores Park in Buffalo and Scott County Park in Eldridge.

“It won’t be a big difference, but everything takes small steps,” said Isha Harvey-Greaves, one of the two students who went to the planning along with Mr. Arnold.

In an area that’s quite known as having more than its fair share of litterers, it’s nice to know that there are still some standout people and initiatives who are leading Iowa’s way and doing their part to limit the carbon in the atmosphere, and make the world look a little greener.

Arnold concluding with, “- sometimes we need to take action, and it’s not about an individual somehow making the change, but for us to make the large-scale change, a lot of individual actions can do it, so we’ve got to start somewhere.”