Mercyhurst Prep students offer service hours

Ryan, Rowan, Shae, and Adam, Mercyhurst Prep students who offer service hours

Four student-athletes at Mercyhurst Preparatory School earned service hours—and the immense gratitude of the Benedictine Sisters—on June 18, when they spent the day at Glinodo, doing landscaping work to benefit the saplings that were planted in May.

Over 250 small trees are growing at Glinodo, part of the ReLEAF program which aims to plant one tree for every person in Erie County. About 110 saplings can be found along the length of the creek, and the rest forming a nursery, in four long rows, at the top of one of the hills. Making sure that they stay well-hydrated is no small feat during these hot days of early summer, and sisters have formed teams to carry water to each sapling to ensure that they get a good drink every few days. But the trees are not the only thing growing along the edge of the creek, and carrying water became extremely challenging, as sisters had to dodge hip-high weeds and thorny brambles, scrambling over fallen logs and under heavy, overgrown branches, all while carrying five-gallon buckets! Meanwhile, the trees at the top of the hill needed to be mulched, to help the soil retain the moisture for longer. There was a lot of heavy physical labor to be done.

When Sister Annette Marshall, Chair of the Care for the Earth Committee, reached out to the Mercyhurst Athletic Department to see if any students would be available to take on this task, the response came quickly: four young men from the cross-country and soccer teams would gladly spend six hours clearing a trail along the creek and laying mulch in the nursery, and they would arrive in just two days.

Every Mercyhurst Prep student at the school must earn 100 service hours before graduation, and it was obvious from the moment Adam, Rowan, Shae, and Ryan arrived that they are already well-trained in service. Care for the Earth Committee member, Sister Jacqueline Sanchez-Small, who supervised the effort, observed, “They got right to work and stayed with it the whole time, and they got an incredible amount accomplished. But what was most impressive to me was their attitude. Even though it was a really hot day and the work was pretty difficult, they seemed to have fun and were so positive, joking with each other and even breaking into song as they went. We had agreed that they would go home about 4 p.m., but when the time came, they still had two rows left to mulch. I told them they were free to go—they’d done much more on the trail than I’d dreamed was possible!—but they wanted to stay until the task was completely finished.”

The path along the creek is now wide enough for the Sisters to get through to water the trees during dry spells, and it will only need to be maintained. We are most grateful for Adam and Rowan, Shae and Ryan, for their hard work and willingness to share their time and strength!

Mercyhurst Prep students offer service hours
Mercyhurst Prep students offer service hours