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Christopher Nyeko

​Contact: Debra Dennis
ddennis@dcccd.edu

For immediate release — June 18, 2020

By Sydni Ellis and Sonia Ford

(DALLAS) — Forget a green thumb.

Richland College student Christopher Nyeko has a green heart that beats with his love for nature. A member of the college’s Student Green Team, Nyeko has been awarded a paid internship to work this summer at Richland’s Tree Farm.

The Urban Forestry Summer Internship from the Texas Trees Foundation means Nyeko will be able to use skills he learned here to plant trees in Africa that will reduce erosion and improve the soil to help make the land more sustainable.

“(Sustainability) is important because we have limited resources,” Nyeko said. “There is a need to live within our limits, and it must start today. I have learned more about saving for the future generations through sustainability by recycling so that we don’t deplete the available natural resources.”

Training Farmers: A Challenge That Could Yield Income, Stability and a Green Future

Born in northern Uganda, Nyeko has had some limited tree-planting experience there but has faced many challenges. With limited resources, he received little support from both the community and family members who saw planting trees as a waste of land and money. These critics, Nyeko said, prefer planting food crops that grow fast enough to provide food and income.

Still, his goal is to showcase planting in his home country, where he can train individuals about the new species of trees and their importance to the ecosystem. Additionally, he will recycle waste materials and decomposing food waste, which can still be used as compost in the farm to free the landfill. All of that will help create a positive impact on the environment, Nyeko said.

An environmental science major, Nyeko joined Richland’s Student Green Team because he wants to take care of natural resources and learn more about sustainability, including recycling waste from both electronic and biodegradable products.

He also wants to leave a legacy for future Richland students that encourages them to care about the environment too.

“I would like to be remembered for my contribution in protecting the environment by being part of an organization that works to save the environment, as well as being someone who will convert my personal land for tree planting into a demonstration farm to educate, train and promote sustainable agriculture practices,” Nyeko said.

Richland College’s Student Green Team gives students the opportunity to discover new interests, internships and career paths that they are passionate about, said Georgeann Moss, executive director of Dallas County Community College District’s sustainability outreach and initiatives.

“We are so proud of Christopher for the important tree-planting work he is doing here in the United States at Richland’s Tree Farm and the knowledge he’ll be taking to his home country of Uganda,” Moss said.​

Sydni Ellis is a writer at Richland College. She can be reached at SEllis@dcccd.edu.

Sonia Ford is the sustainability project coordinator at Richland College. She may be reached at SFord@dcccd.edu.

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The mission of the Richland College Sustainability program is “to build a sustainable local and world community by modeling and cultivating an eco-friendly campus, incorporating a green educational curriculum and green sustainable community ever mindful of being good stewards of the environment and its natural resources for future generations.” Their Green Teams consist of students, faculty, staff and community, who voluntarily come together to promote sustainability awareness, identify sustainability initiatives and implement solutions to help our campus be energy efficient with our resources and be environmentally sustainable.

The Texas Tree Foundation sustains a tree-planting initiative for neighborhood parkways and medians, schools and other public open spaces, a tree growing facility to assure a healthy supply of trees for the future, and education programs to teach the importance and benefits of maintaining a healthy urban forest. The TXU Energy Urban Tree Farm and Education Center​ is located on Richland College’s campus. It serves as the foundation’s tree nursery and volunteer site, and it benefits the college by offsetting emissions and energy consumption. The four-acre tree farm is one of the largest-known urban tree farms in Texas. It features state-of-the-art production and irrigation technology with the capacity to produce over 7,000 10-gallon trees per planting season. Trees are grown onsite and planted throughout North Texas for various projects and programs.