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Keen to go green at Maple Ridge high school

Rick Halas is spearheading a campaign to spruce up Maple Ridge secondary  by planting a row of maple trees in front of the school on 122nd Avenue.  - Robert Mangelsdorf/The News
Rick Halas is spearheading a campaign to spruce up Maple Ridge secondary by planting a row of maple trees in front of the school on 122nd Avenue.
— image credit: Robert Mangelsdorf/The News

Rick Halas hoping to raise some green to bring some green to his alma mater.

Halas is spearheading the Keen to Green campaign, which aims to spruce up Maple Ridge secondary by planting a dozen or so red maples on school grounds along 122nd Avenue.

Halas and his wife Anne both graduated from Maple Ridge Secondary School in 1977, and today his two children go there.

The school has undergone many changes over the years, but since it was renovated in 2004, there hasn’t been a lot of nature for students to enjoy, and Halas wants to change that.

“The campus is very barren,” he says. “When you drive by the school, the predominant features seem to be pavement and fencing.”

The trees were originally part of the school’s design, but  construction cost overruns meant the trees were scrapped from the final plan.

“I’ve talked to the school district about paying for the trees, but they’ve told me there isn’t any money outside the classroom,” says Halas.

Incorporating some nature into the school’s landscape will have a positive benefit for students, he says.

“Greenery enhances the environment to make it more appealing,” says Halas.

“Aesthetics are often a neglected aspect at schools, but it’s part of the learning environment.”

With the Maple Ridge community becoming more urbanized, Halas said the trees will hopefully help students stay connected to nature.

Most of the district’s other high schools have extensive greenery on their campuses, he notes. The trees provide shade for students and make the school more inviting place.

“I have this dream of students sitting under the shade of trees and eating their lunches,” he says.

Maple Ridge secondary fully backs Halas’s campaign, and the school’s parent advisory council has already donated $2,500 to the project.

The cost to plant the trees is $300 to $350 each, and Halas says he is about $1,000 shy of his fundraising goal.

“We’re hoping to get them in the ground this spring,” he says.

To donate

To donate to the Keen to Green project, contact Halas at halas@shaw.ca. Tax receipts available.

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