This academic year, a new club has joined the ranks at the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles. The Environmental Club has already undertaken two incredibly important projects — a trip to the Burbank Recycling Center and planting trees with Tree People.
Environmental Club member Kasey Weldon and advisor Michael Zelniker spoke with NYFA Correspondent Joelle Smith about their recent experience of giving back to their community in collaboration with Tree People. Check out what they had to say about this exciting episode from NYFA Los Angeles student life.
NYFA: On your recent excursion with Tree People, what was the goal for the day?
Zelniker: The goal was to work with Tree People, an organization that supports students and educators to take responsibility for urban environments. Trees are one of the great hopes we have to reverse the carbonization of our atmosphere. Trees take in carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the atmosphere. Planting trees is an important step in our efforts to reverse the effects of fossil fuels on our planet.
Weldon: On our first trip out, we were watering the baby trees that were already planted and pulling/cutting invasive weeds that could harm the tree’s growth. On the second trip out, we planted new trees in Calabasas, which was a lot of hard work but so well worth it and rewarding.
NYFA: Los Angeles has had really hot weather lately. How did you guys prepare for the manual labor, and how did everyone fare on the day?
Zelniker: We drank plenty of water. Everyone wore pounds of sunscreen. We had to cover up with appropriate clothing. Everyone fared very well. No problems at all.
Weldon: Everyone did really well. We stayed hydrated, wore our hats to protect ourselves from the sun, and the SoCal breeze is always nice.
NYFA: What was the most surprising thing about the trip?
Zelniker: I was surprised at just how profoundly satisfying it is to simply dig a hole in the soil and put a tree in the ground knowing that the tree you’ve planted, over the course of its life, will absorb tons of CO2 and produce tons of oxygen. It’s empowering.
Weldon: The unity really surprised me. Everyone is there with a goal in mind and a desire and passion to give back and create a better tomorrow. There were no strangers. We are all a team.
NYFA: You guys are a new organization at the school. Was this a bonding experience for the new members?
Weldon: Of course. We are all friends already from school, but to be able to bond over something that has such meaning and truly seeing the difference we have made at the end of the day, it just roots our friendships even deeper. Some people I met for the first time, and it’s like I’ve known them forever.
It’s an amazing feeling to be around people who strive for the same things, work toward it with you, and, at the end of the day, you share the successes together. It’s a truly special friendship with Earth and human beings coming together as one.
Zelniker: We’ve been a NYFA club for more than six months now. Over that time we have held several events. All of the events have served to create stronger bonds between us as we come together in our shared commitment to do whatever we can to lighten our carbon footprint, while at the same time spreading the word on how important it is to conserve energy, water, and resources in general, to our individual communities at large.
NYFA: What other trips are you guys planning in the future?
Zelniker: We intend to do more tree planting, hiking, a beach clean up, and another trip to Burbank Recycling Center, as well as another bake sale fundraiser. We’re also talking about the “Adopt a Highway” program.
The New York Film Academy is proud of the success of the Environmental Club for their incredible efforts to help protect and preserve the Earth.