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Database Provider


Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr


8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 45 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

The City Planting a Million Trees in Two Years

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  • This TED video features Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr from Sierra Leone, who decided to run for mayor of Freetown and implement a plan to replant one million trees in and around the city during her term in office. 
  • It begins by describing the changing weather conditions brought about by climate change that have made farming in the region much harder and the increasing migration of people from rural areas to urban centers.
  • Students will learn how Freetown's tree planting initiative is designed to get everyone in the community involved and interested in planting and caring for these trees.
Teaching Tips


  • This inspiring video will show students how communities can come together to make changes.
  • Footage of Freetown adds visual interest to the video.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Before watching the video, teachers may wish to share some information about Sierra Leone and have students locate the country on a map or globe.
  •  Students can find updated information on Freetown's tree planting project on the Freetown City Council's website.


  • This video would be a great inspirational video to kick off a service project or planning meeting for a tree planting project.
  • Earth science and biology classes could identify the ways that planting trees can help to stabilize the soil, balance the water cycle, filter the air, filter the water, provide shade for people, reduce urban temperatures during heat waves, and provide habitat for wildlife.
  • Other resources on this topic include this animated video on the benefits of urban trees, this art-centered SubjectToClimate lesson plan on deforestation and habitat destruction, and this TED-Ed video on what would happen if we cut down all of a city's trees.
Scientist Notes
The video highlights the importance of tree planting, one of the options in responding to climate change. It is also suitable in engaging students for climate activism and environmental justice.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 8.ESS3.4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 7.LS2.5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
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