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Students Become Citizen Foresters for Sustainability Challenge

As part of their training with Innovations Works, students in Western High School's Design Ninja Club are conducting a design challenge for Louisville Grows, a local organization dedicated to repairing Louisville’s damaged tree canopy. The students work to apply the concepts of human-centered design towards solving problems for their client, in hopes that their solutions will contribute to a more successful and sustainable community.

The challenges Louisville Grows asked the Design Ninjas for help with include increasing volunteer involvement by high school students like themselves, and steam-lining the communication process the agency completes in order to recruit “treecipients” – low-income urban residents who arrange for Louisville Grows to plant free trees in their yards, all the way through the final steps of instructing the “treecipients” on how to care for their new tree once it has been safely planted. There can be ten points of contact throughout the entire process, and the students are working to simplify and decrease the amount of effort required by Louisville Grows to plant each tree.

Several of Innovation Work's Design Ninjas participated in the nonprofit’s Citizen Forestry training and will be helping lead teams of volunteers during tree planting events. The remaining club members will assist on their teams, along with other community volunteers. By participating in these volunteer activities for Louisville Grows, the students learn first-hand about the needs and processes of their client so they can develop solutions that will truly delight and satisfy their customer.

Design Ninjas helped plant 200 trees in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood on March 2 and will join another Tree Planting Day in the Chippewa Neighborhood on April 6. Anyone ages 14 and older is encouraged to join them for a fun rewarding day of tree planting.

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