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Virginia's Lorax will keep planting trees

Evan Nied.jpg
As a freshman in high school, Evan Nied founded Planting Shade, a group committed to more trees on the planet.

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.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Sandy Hausman joined our news team in 2008 after honing her radio skills in Chicago. Since then, she's won several national awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Radio, Television and Digital News Association and the Public Radio News Directors' Association.