Virginia's Lorax will keep planting trees
Evan Nied has loved trees for as long as he can remember.
“I’m Jewish and I was born on Tu Bishvat, which is the holiday for trees, so I’ve always felt a connection to trees because of that," he explains, "but it wasn’t until Hurricane Florence, which forced me and my family to evacuate the 757-area temporarily that inspired me to do something that would improve my local ecosystem.”
He thinks of himself as a human Lorax, who – like the character created by Dr. Seuss – was the protector of trees everywhere.
As a freshman in high school, he set up a non-profit called Planting Shade which has now put more than 12,000 trees in the ground and established eleven chapters in – among other places – Richmond, Fredericksbug and Virginia Beach.
“It’s really incredible to have planted these small saplings that are now at my height or taller after three years,” Nied says.
As a freshman with a full scholarship to UVA, he plans to continue his work perhaps using prize money he got this summer from a group that rewards Jewish teenagers helping to heal the world. Fifteen of them met in San Francisco and collected $36,000 apiece.