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Academy in the Cooper Mountain Nature Park!


In cooperation with the Mosque Bilal Masjid, the second Academy in Beaverton took place together with a first ever parents’ meeting in Oregon!

The students arrived at Cooper Mountain Nature Park and were greeted by the Ambassadors leading the Academy: Sarah Temple, Miko and Isaac Vergun, and Joel Guren. The moderator, Pam, shortly introduced Plant-for-the-Planet, and the four Ambassadors gave the presentation “How we children save the world”. After that, everyone took a break and enjoyed a healthy snack.

Then we played the World Game, using old pearl-like beads to represent carbon, and large and small shells to represent people and wealth. The students were impressed by the unfair distribution of wealth and CO2-emissions on our planet.
Then, we turned to Rhetoric Practice and discussed what makes a speech effective and gave out the slides with the presenters-notes so students could practice giving small parts of the talk, in preparation for the afternoon-presentation. We sat around in small groups, working on the slides with the help of volunteers and Ambassadors. Pam worked with the students to help each decide who would present which slides in the afternoon.

We then went for a short hike to the shed where shovels were waiting for us, and then to a more open part of the forest at Cooper Mountain to plant the trees. It was the first time we have been given the opportunity to plant so many trees at an Oregon Academy, more than one for each children attending!  The parents-meeting finished in time for parents, grandparents, and a younger sibling to join us in the beautiful park.
Isaac explained how to go about planting a tree and ensuring the tree to flourish and grow in the upcoming years. Ranger Scott had marked out where the trees should go, and placed each of the 11 Douglas Fir trees near the planting markers. So, it was a fairly easy and very fun thing to set about planting them, especially with all the great volunteers helping.

Afterwards, we came back to the picnic tables of the covered patio of the Nature House and had lunch. We shared a blessing appropriate for everyone and talked about the importance of taking only the food we know we can eat and making sure that nothing is wasted—that we can save leftovers and compost all that is left or can’t be eaten. All enjoyed the food—pizza and more healthy things—that Bilal, Cool Islam, and Young Muslims provided for us.

Then, Pam helped the students to practice the presentation for the afternoon slideshow.

Once Pam announced the small chocolate bars we had bought at Trader Joe’s were for any students who could give their presentation without using notes, the students dropped their notes to the ground, went on without them, and did a great job!

All the students presented, even the one who had to leave a little early. The presenters who had committed to presenting without notes kept to their resolution, thanks to the encouraging power of chocolate!

The students received their appointments as Climate Justice Ambassadors, along with certificates, the books Tree by Tree, and Everything Would Be Alright. And, of course, we got some great photos and videos. Everyone pitched to get everything cleaned up before we had to be out of the building on time, which, miraculously, we were, leaving plenty of time for celebrating Mothers’ Day.


We deeply appreciate the kind donation by Bilal of the beautiful and welcoming spaces at Cooper Mountain and Bilal Masjid. Special thanks to Ranger Scott Wagner of Tualatin Valley Parks and Recreation for the lovely Douglas Fir trees and the thought that went into finding us a safe place to plant.

Find more fantastic photos here!

You want to join an Academy?
Upcoming Academies will be announced on the Plant-for-the-Planet website and at our local site: ClimateChangeRecovery.org.