Featured image for “More than a good run! Swiss student initiates a school run for trees with impact.”
January 28, 2022

More than a good run! Swiss student initiates a school run for trees with impact.

Under the slogan “Run4Trees before trees run out”, young climate activist Kate mobilized a charity run for trees at ISB for the second time. With this action, she wants to draw attention to the urgent problem of deforestation, one of the leading causes of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, and show that we can tackle it together.

Kate is a Grade 10 student at the International School Basel (ISB), Switzerland and an active member of the ISB Sustainability Team. With her idea and call to action, she inspired classmates and the school management to collect donations for trees by individual running stages. For two weeks, between September 27 and October 8, 2021, all classes of the Junior, Middle and Senior School used a Physical Education lesson to complete their run.

With Run4Trees 2021, the students were able to collect donations in the astonishing amount of CHF 6.855 (approx. EUR 6,600). 20% of the donation supports sustainability projects at the school and the other 80% supports tree planting with 4.570 trees. This is enough for a small forest that will be planted on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, where Plant-for-the-Planet has its biggest renaturation project. The tree counter «International School Basel Forest» shows all trees of the Run4Trees campaign 2020 and 2021.  

run4trees basel

Kate showed us that Run4Trees is one of many ways children and young people can make their voices heard and draw attention to the protection of forests and the planting of trees as a fundamental contribution to fight the climate crisis. It takes courage to call for action and energy to implement. That’s why the support by families, friends and teachers are essential to handle and learn from unknown topics or organizational hurdles. The impact is manifold and will last. Run4Trees is a great action that combines local and global climate engagement, sports and fun, and connects generations.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see how just a simple idea can go a long way. Thank you to everyone who ran with us! We need to take every opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing deforestation. Ecosystems can no longer withstand the pressure. It was recently reported that large parts of the rainforest could produce more carbon dioxide than it absorbs. And deforestation is one of the main causes of this. We need to do something now. We need to save and restore lost forests. As living ecosystems are critical to the survival of us young people.” Kate, ISB student and member of the Plant-for-the-Planet Global Board.

Plant-for-the-Planet Academy and planting event

Following the “Run4Trees”, ISB and Plant-for-the-Planet implemented an Online-Academy (due to pandemic restrictions) on October 30, 2021. Through Kate’s presentation and group sessions, students from the 5th, 6th and 7th grades learned all about the climate crisis’s cause, consequences, and solutions. In groups, they collected ideas on how to spread the word, combat the climate crisis and implement climate actions at ISB.

Kate giving a presentation at the Online Academy

One week later, the students and their parents met with the ISB Sustainability Team and Plant-for-the-Planet Switzerland members in the Angenstein forest district. Under the supervision of two foresters, everyone cleared branches from an area that had been cleared due to an ash tree infestation. Hand in hand, the teams planted 90 tree seedlings to reforest the area and preserve the local forest. The joint activity in nature and the forest work was an excellent experience for everyone. Besides that, the participants learned interesting facts about regional reforestation efforts and how trees support natural ecosystems.

children plant trees in Basel

All participants became official Plant-for-the-Planet Ambassadors for Climate Justice. They can now take action to raise awareness against deforestation and become ambassadors on behalf of Plant-for-the-Planet.

Kate herself has yet another recognition to look forward to. Due to her engagement, she was elected to the Global Youth Board of Plant-for-the-Planet. Young climate activists from all over the world become Plant-for-the Plant representatives. Together, they create new initiatives or projects that can have a global impact and support ambassadors communities and actions.

All photos from the academy can be seen here.

Thanks to the tremendous commitment of all participating ISB students, the ISB Sustainability Team and involved teachers for their dedication and support, and the forestry team of the Bürgergemeinde Aesch for their time and interest to share knowledge. And special thanks to Kate, who promoted the Run4Trees initiative and the Plant-for-the-Planet Academy at ISB.

Report by: Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation Switzerland