This past October, the newly minted 4H Club of Greater Atlanta Adventist Academy (GAAA) in Atlanta, Ga., smartly attired in green 4H shirts, launched a “Green and Grow” outdoor theme with “Roots that Run Deep, so Go Green and Grow.” In their effort to get “back to Eden,” nearly 105 trees were planted across the campus in conjunction with Trees of Atlanta, Inc., in three installments, and in partnership with affiliates NMIAA (National Men in Agricultural Association) and NWIAA (National Women in Agricultural Association).
The Green and Grow environmental program vision is to develop the entire complex as a center of health and wellness through the green conservation of tree planting, greenhouses to enable food production, and environmental care. Students, the community, parents, and alumni will participate in gardening, sports/athletics, and supporting academic themes in physical and health participation. The establishment of the greenhouses is being spearheaded by Caroline Lipham, GAAA science teacher/Back to Eden. Trees Atlanta, Inc., will give support, maintenance, and nurture for the next two years, to get the program fully on its feet, strengthened by a Toshiba Foundation grant which is enabling the students to alter the environment further by expanding the school’s vegetable garden base, and getting hands-on experience as a prime example of outdoor education.
The goals for Green and Grow are to grow the trees to maturity, maintain the green of the external campus by developing an arboretum, establish gardens with community support to produce food for the cafeteria, involve the alumni, and market GAAA as a vegan/vegetarian food center through the sale of vegetables and food. This initiative is being integrated into the curriculum as part of the entire work-study philosophy to create a campus that will nurture the health and nutrition of the students and community, and initiate scholarships through the affiliates. The overall complex vision is to ensure that students from preK to 12th grade maintain good health and nutrition throughout their school experience.
The 4H Club; GAAA staff; Trees Atlanta, Inc., volunteers; the Atlanta United soccer team; Atlanta Berean Church representatives; community leaders Al Smith, George Hubbard, Noreen Whitehead, Sherwin Jack, D.Min., and Donovan Washington; and Andrea Boone, city of Atlanta congresswoman on behalf of Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta, appeared and assisted. The city of Atlanta media team filmed the momentous occasion that will be a first of many environmental changes for GAAA.
The planting installation was led by Willette Jackson of Trees Atlanta, Inc. She gave the volunteers and supporters a tutorial on how to plant the trees properly. She used her demo plant to show how to make sure the roots were planted in the ground properly. She noted the importance of the roots and the significance of the connection with growth. “You have to cut off any circling of the roots to help water and nutrients to be able to nourish the tree so it can grow.”
Her lesson mirrored the spiritual application in establishing a relationship with growing in Christ. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, is pruned so that it may bear more fruit,” John 15:1-6 NKJV.
The GAAA family wants to be fully rooted in God to grow in Christian experience, and to be nourished daily with nutrients through studying the Word, connecting with God through prayer, and connecting with others of the faith. They wish to truly be that tree that bears that good fruit because its roots are deeply planted in Christ.
“We shall be like trees planted by the rivers of water, that will bring forth good fruit in due season and whose leaves not wither,” Psalm 1:3.
South Atlantic | February 2020