by Melanie McIntyre
Three members of the Wylie student council recently presented a resolution to the Dexter City Council intended to promote unity in Dexter and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entitled #4CommuniTREE, this project asks community members to tie a ribbon to a tree (or anything else) in their front yard as a symbol of “unity in our community” while we adhere to Michigan’s stay at home mandate. Supported and advised by Wylie fourth grade teachers Jim Barnes, Scott Bartz, Jeff Dagg, Deb Eber, Natalie Hanlon, Susan Karsch and Sarah Russell, the student architects of this project are striving to create an impact not only in their community, but far beyond.
After administering a survey of Wylie students, which garnered 90% approval of the project, current 4th graders Charlie (Charlotte) Konuszewski, Erin Nieman and Shepherd Thompson created a video which was presented at the April 27th council meeting.
The purpose of the #4CommuniTREE initiative is to “help people realize that other people care,” Charlie shares in the video. While we are apart, “we want people to know they are not alone.”
“We are starting in Dexter, but we would love it if surrounding communities would participate,” Shepherd says. The student council is eager to make an impact that could eventually grow outside of Dexter. “It could start with our community, then our state, then the country, and on and on and on!” exclaims Charlie.
The Dexter City Council unanimously approved the resolution, and the Dexter Chamber of Commerce agreed to help the students spread the word around the area.
Erin details how the community can participate in the #4CommuniTREE project. Community members are encouraged to tie any color ribbon around a tree (or anything else) in their front yard. Erin suggests getting creative and using whatever materials people have around their house, rather than venturing out to buy something new. The ribbons should not harm wildlife, the tree or anything else to which it is tied. Ribbons are to be displayed until Friday, June 12th.
Many more Wylie students are contributing to the project as well. This week, students in Ms. Val Eninsche’s art class are sharing their ideas for a project logo through distance learning.
Working with their Wylie teachers, students will launch a #4CommuniTREE social media blitz. By collecting zip codes of trees with ribbons, they will see how far their message of unity has spread in our community and beyond.
In addition, students plan to present this project at the SEMIS Coalition (The Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition) in early June to explain how they started this community impact action, all while using Zoom and social distancing.
Help the Wylie Crew in their endeavor to create an impact in Dexter and beyond by tying any color ribbon, “’round the ole oak tree.”