A student-run non-profit based in Atlanta, Grey to Green, has reached a milestone, having planted its 100,000th tree.
A student-run non-profit based in Atlanta, Grey to Green, has reached a milestone, having planted its 100,000th tree. The 501(c) that works for the sustainable development and preservation of environments across the globe’s key initiatives include planting trees globally, creating seed libraries, adopting roads, establishing and running a local greenhouse and hydroponics system, and spreading greater awareness on the state of the environment globally.
Fighting Deforestation Both in the Community and Worldwide
Grey to Green is partnered with AIR Guatemala, a non-profit based in Dundywood, Georgia, matching work to plant over 100,000 trees between Atlanta and Guatemala respectively. AIR Guatemala was established in 1993 and works to provide aid to communities while providing pay in collaboration providing horticultural training. Helping to fight deforestation, Grey to Green is also serving to help strengthen defenses against tropical storms that often hit areas in Guatemala without infrastructure like Los Planes Chuchexic, Santa Lucia Utatlan, Solola, Guatemala.
Providing more safety from storms is just one benefit to combatting deforestation, as natural life and resources thrive as the environment heals. Additionally, Grey to Green has established school gardens throughout Central America. “It was really exhilarating, to be honest, seeing all those trees we planted,” Co-Founder Ishan Mahajan says about seeing the progress of Grey to Green with Partner/Co-Founder Brian Yoo. “Although it was great to see those thousands of trees planted, it really warmed our hearts knowing we also made a difference in other people’s lives.”
Although Grey to Green has had significant success abroad, the student-driven non-profit has also focused on improving the local environment. Mobilizing over 350 volunteers, Grey to Green have been able to clean up various roads in Atlanta, specifically around Lambert High School, where they also attend. Grey to Green is focused on providing science-based solutions to improving the environment and has established both a greenhouse and hydroponics system, the yield of which is to be donated to
Atlanta Food Bank.
“Of course, none of this would be possible, without our generous donors who have contributed over 10,000 dollars to our cause,” Brian Yoo, co-founder, says. “We really appreciated seeing the outpouring of support from our local community, both in donations and interest.”
About Grey to Green
While the non-profit has done a tremendous amount of work, the core of the organization just consists of two high schoolers looking to make a difference. Starting in February of 2021 after observing the state of the environment around them, Ishan and Brian recognized that COVID-19 highlighted the dire state of the natural world. Headlines such as, “Canals of Italy Clearing After 4 months of Lockdowns” or “New York City Sees Significant Reductions in Smog” opened their eyes to the devastation the environment has suffered as a result of industrialization and urbanization in the United States. Even around Grey to Green’s home of Atlanta, the young founders observe constant litter, “People throwing away their masks, gloves, and tissues on the ground. Although we are high schoolers, we knew that we wanted to make a difference. Thus, Grey to Green was born with the intent of beautifying the environment around us. However, as we grew and our mission attracted other like-minded peers, we were able to expand internationally as well.”
Ishan Mahajan and Brian Yoo are both currently seniors at Lambert High School. Before founding Grey to Green, Ishan and Brian were already good friends. “We actually met on a basketball court,” they say. As both of the founders are going out of state for college – with Ishan focusing on STEM subjects in college while Brian pursues his interests in the humanities – they are hoping to expand Grey to Green through their respective college campuses, helping their project to grow and possibly expand nationally.
“Our school chapter already has 350 volunteers and we want to help this project to grow,” Grey to Green explains. “We’re hoping in five years, who knows, maybe we’ll have 5000 volunteers, and we’ll plant our millionth tree.”
To learn more, donate, or volunteer, visit GreyToGreenInternational.Org