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Bell Gardens Students Compete in Community Service Contest

They say money doesn’t grow on trees but for some Bell Gardens High School students a social media contest involving planting trees could help them get an all expense paid trip to the Angeles National Forest.

Bell Gardens High School students involved in the environmental club planted flowers in front of the school as a way to beautify the campus. (Photo courtesy of TreebyTree)

Bell Gardens High School’s environmental club is one of the 17 groups that submitted photos of their club’s environmental activities as part of community service competition to win a trip to the Angeles National Forest.

The community service campaign kicked off this month and has local schools competing for Facebook votes to become the top ranked schools that will participate in the effort to restore the ecosystem damaged by last year’s Station Fire.

“The Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest was one of the largest fires in L.A’s history,” said Julie Prejean, TreePeople’s forest director. “Thanks to Edison International, hundreds of students will participate in replanting areas that were burned too severely to come back without human assistance.”

TreePeople and Edison International will pay for the bus and cost of a substitute teacher for the top 10 ranked schools so that they may take 50-60 students to the Angeles National Forest for a day of community service where they will plant native seedlings.

The club’s advisor, Patricia Jimenez, told EGP that winning this trip would help pay for transportation that would normally cost hundreds of dollars.

“We would love to go because we don’t have a whole lot of money,” she said. “This is a free opportunity you get to go out and do community service and give back to our earth.”

The club currently participates in riverbed clean ups, providing recycling bins throughout the school, planting flowers and gardening on campus.

Cesar Verjan, a junior at BGHS who participates in the club told EGP that the community service trip would be a chance to meet people while helping the environment.

“I would enjoy interacting with other schools, with other environmental kids to see what they do,” Verjan said. “I would love to plant trees and get my hands dirty.”

Environmental Club President Elena Chavez told EGP that the prize would also provide an opportunity to spread environmental awareness in her community.

“Although we do different activities here, we would like to expand,” Chaves said. “This trip would be a big accomplishment.”

To vote for a school, users must log on to Southern California Edison’s Facebook page and click on the TreebyTree section. Each person can vote once a day for the school of their choice with voting ending on Feb. 13.

As of press time Bell Gardens High School’s environmental club was ranked in fourth place.

To vote for Bell Gardens High School visit www.facebook.com/sce