On May 6, 2023, thirty-five members, including eight Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) students, of the Sri Sathya Sai Center of Nashville, TN, volunteered at a tree planting service at the Percy and Edwin Warner Parks. On a cloudy Saturday morning, Sai volunteers arrived at the park and were warmly greeted by a park ranger who was their guide for that day. They were quickly handed gloves, shovels and buckets of sprouting saplings that were to be planted. After being instructed on the proper way to plant trees, the Sai volunteers set out on their task and dispersed throughout the forest.

After three hours of hard manual labor, the Sai volunteers surpassed their initial goal of a couple hundred trees and were able to plant about 400 saplings of native plants such as flowering dogwoods, redbuds, sugar maple, northern red oak and more. These trees would serve as protective buffers for the city’s waterways, restore the natural ecosystem of the forests by controlling invasive plants, and encourage the biodiversity and integrity of the urban forests.

SSE students who participated in the activity thoroughly enjoyed their day of service at the park. One of them commented, “The tree planting service was a great way for all of us to contribute towards reducing the effects of global warming. Persistent and collaborative effort will hopefully create a more peaceful and sustainable Earth for everyone to live in. I will continue to live out the belief that Nature is a manifestation of God by caring for the planet just as it cares for me."