Cali is a sophomore at Kennedy High School. She is currently involved in the Urban Orchards project and the Bioluminescent Project. She recently helped out the ONE campaign by helping to create the World’s Largest Duck Duck Goose Game. She’s also involved in Key Club and enjoys helping out at the Soup Kitchen at the First Presbyterian Church. Her favorite school subject is math and she’s on her school’s tennis team. She is a Warehouse Associate at ESP International. Cali hasn’t yet decided what she wants to do once she’s out of school and is hoping BIG can help point her in the right direction.
My current BIG project is an urban orchard. We have yet to change the name to something more suiting since we are considering adding a garden and other fun ideas! Along with the garden, some of the other ideas we have come up with include: benches for the park patrons to use to enjoy their time in nature, milkweeds since monarchs have become scarce, and clover to add more nitrogen to the soil for the trees and it helps with reducing mowing maintenance. After having our first meeting with the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department, we realized that some of our ideas might not work if we want to put our orchard in Noelridge park because of federal laws. Even though some of our ideas wouldn’t necessarily work, it was a great experience and will prepare us for the future.
The research for this project has been very interesting. I hadn’t realized that there were certain zones for plants. I had never understood what the numbers on the tree ID tags meant, but after learning about all of the zones, I understand! Each zone is specified by the range of temperatures the tree can live through. I also found out that certain types of fruit trees may need a different type of the fruit to be pollinated. For example, a honeycrisp apple tree would need an empire apple tree as its pollination partner.
I have really enjoyed this opportunity to get out into the community and actually do something to make a difference in my community. Each project normally meets once a week and there is always something I can be doing. It’s very different from regular school since we have to get in contact with possible partners for our projects and meet with important people. Collaboration plays a major part in BIG.