When students at Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix finish classes each day, many walk along a nearby road. Sophomore Jhoanna Echeverria says that during heat waves, the journey gets very uncomfortable.

“Like three minutes into walking, you’re already sweating,” she says.

Her classmate Rosa Ramirez agrees.

“During that time of day, it’s excruciating walking to the library, let’s say, or walking to the park,” she says.

But that’s changing. Echeverria and Ramirez recently volunteered – along with other students and residents – to help city workers plant more than 250 trees along the sidewalk. As the trees grow, they’ll provide much-needed shade for people walking or waiting at the bus stop.

As the climate warms, Phoenix will see more hot days. So the tree-planting project is part of an effort to create ‘cool corridors’ along busy pedestrian routes.

Ramirez says she worries about global warming, and it felt good to do something that would help protect her community.

“When I see the trees, like when I walk past them, I think about it. I’m like, I planted this area of trees over here,” she says. “And I get really happy thinking about it, knowing that one day they’ll get bigger and that future generations will enjoy the benefits that we instilled in place for them.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media