Courtyard renovations hit hard

I have been called many things in my life, and one that comes up frequently is “€œhippie.”€ As my cousin’€™s friend put it this summer, “€œYou’€™re just like, so natural.”€ Though I don’€™t see how wearing tie-dye and having semi-curly hair (her points, not mine) make me a hippie, I suppose it is true in some stereotypical regards. I’€™m a vegetarian, I do happen to wear tie-dye from time to time, and I appreciate and do my best to help protect the environment. The last reason is why seeing that the trees in the courtyard had been cut down made me really mad.

I like to spend my free periods in the courtyard, so imagine my surprise as I pushed open the doors one day and took a deep, refreshing breath of crisp morning air and something caught my eye. Someone had bound yellow ribbons around my trees. At first I assumed it was for some sort of awareness, like in elementary school when they did the tied ribbons around trees for Red Ribbon Week representing drug prevention.

After a few days with no mention of it from anyone else, my worst fears were realized. A friend sat down at our table for lunch and asked, “€œWhy are they cutting down those trees?” Sadly, I had no answer. Though I understand that this is in no way an attack on tree-lovers, I can’€™t help but see it that way. The fact that school officials feel that the negative aspects of having a few trees in the courtyard somehow outweigh the benefits involved with keeping them is disheartening, to say the least.

Trees are an incredibly valuable resource that we should be doing more to preserve. Not to mention that they’re visually appealing and fun to climb. Without them, the courtyard has a lot of empty space that really couldn’t be used for a lot, it seems. Cutting down these trees will add a whopping few feet of space that we didn’€™t already have, and then there will still need to be work done to fix up the area in order to use it for anything. One of the best things about these trees is that they add a lot of much-needed shade on ridiculously hot days. And all of those adorable squirrels that you always see running around will be confined to one tree on a hill.

Why were the trees cut down? In an email to staff, Principal Spence Evans cited erosion problems and a disease that had infected one of the trees.

“€œMaintenance has been battling erosion problems that [were] affecting the way the courtyard drained after a hard rain,” he wrote.

After hearing this, I felt some sense of closure; knowing that there were valid reasons for removing the trees made it easier to accept the loss.

“I have been promised the end result will be a nice terraced courtyard that maximizes space for student,”€ Evans added.

It’€™s really great to hear that the school administration is taking steps to ensure that the courtyard doesn’t just go to waste without the trees. Though we will miss them, especially during the warm spring days when we used them for shade, it will be really nice to have an area that’€™s designated for students to just hang out in but is also well-kept and pretty. All in all, I’€™m still depressed about the removal of our trees. They will be missed, though I’€™m sure the courtyard will have more students hanging out there in their free periods now that the area will be renovated. Though it might take a while to get it to where it needs to be, it will be a valued addition to the school and I’€™m excited to see the finished product.