A Big Thank You to Lansing Catholic High School

by Eriq Acosta, National Director 

I recently had the pleasure to work with a group of Catholic high school students out of Michigan, Lansing while they were staying at the Sacred Earth Lodge. First and foremost this group of students and chaperones were truly amazing. The group was so eager to learn and put effort into the physical work as well; I was just blown away by their generous spirits.

While I was on the Pine Ridge Reservation, I was lucky enough to spend a few days with this group and was humbled by their work ethic and joyful willingness to provide service in the form of maintenance and cleaning at the Red Cloud Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) and tree planting at the new Veterans Memorial. They completed these tasks with ease and smiles on their faces.

tree planting at Veterans Memorial
Students from Lansing Catholic High School planting trees at the new Veterans Memorial.

Several times the students and chaperones asked me what more can they could do to help, how they could improve projects they already completed. From my point of view, they went above and beyond their call of duty. At RCREC we have several buildings on the campus, and they cleaned and did general maintenance on at least 90% of the facilities.

Cleaning RCREC
Working hard to tidy up RCREC

The respect that they gave to the residents, especially the children, on the RCREC campus was a beautiful sight to see. They had the opportunity to listen to a tribal member speak about Lakota history and culture, as well as participate in a round dance and play musical chairs in conjunction with the drum playing. I have found that at this age one or two students just aren’t “feeling it” and don’t participate, but what I noticed most about this group is that they acted as one cohesive unit. I found this to be very impressive, and I feel like speaks volumes about their leadership. This was the group’s second time being on Pine Ridge, and by the end of the trip, they were already discussing a third! As a representative of Trees Water, & People I would love to call Lansing Catholic High School a partner and would love to have them on any project we do!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Birch Hincks, Superstar

Birch Hincks has already been our Featured Volunteer for her hard work and sparkling personality around the Trees, Water & People office. Now we get to give her another very special thanks, this time for the month of service she just spent at our project site in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Birch lived in and worked on the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), helping improve the living quarters for trainees as well as generally improving and expanding the training campus with RCREC employees Henry Red Cloud and Leo Bear. She did an amazing job of reaching out the to the Pine Ridge community, reconnecting with previous solar air heater recipients to see how they are doing. In addition, Birch travelled with Henry and his crew to conduct installations and trainings on the Great Plains. Thank you Birch…we all love you!

To Our Amazing Volunteers: Happy National Volunteer Week!

April 10th-16th is National Volunteer Week!  Around the country, organizations are recognizing their wonderful volunteers and all the work they do to make the world a better place.

Trees, Water & People (TWP) is extremely lucky to have a dedicated and hard-working volunteer base that offers hundreds and hundreds of hours each year to our organization.  Without these volunteers, TWP would not be the organization we are today.  Our volunteers offer their free time to do everything from gardening to preparing mailings, all of which are important tasks that help our organization thrive and grow.

Volunteers at the annual "Rhythms for the Planet" fundraiser smile as they help check people into the event.

From the entire staff at Trees, Water & People, thank you to all of our volunteers! We love you all and hope to continue seeing your smiling faces each day.

For more information on how you can volunteer with Trees, Water & People please click here!