Members of Darien High School's Eco-Citizens Club provided DHS with a new addition to its landscape last month, planting a flowering dogwood tree outside the school's library entrance.

"We chose the flowering dogwood because it's a native tree to the Northeast and it will thrive in the location we've planted it in with partial sunlight throughout the day," Taylor Cockerill, club co-president and DHS senior explained.

The Eco-Citizens planted the flowering dogwood in conjunction with an international day of action hosted by Project 350, an organization started by author Bill McKibben to spread awareness about global warming.

The "350" refers to a target carbon dioxide concentration limit, measured in parts per million (ppm) for the earth's atmosphere. Scientists estimate current atmospheric concentration to be 392 ppm.

"Carbon dioxide reduction is the first step toward climate action," Elissa Johnson, Eco-Citizens Club advisor and DHS science teacher, explained.

Club members excitedly offered up their Saturday afternoons to contribute to the international day of action.

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"I loved being a part of the tree planting," DHS senior Kyra Conciatori said. "It was a great experience because the trees will not only look beautiful on our campus, but also serve an important function as part of our communities ecosystem."

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, trees aid the environment through the process of carbon sequestration and in providing a viable food source for animals, club members said.

Building upon their local beach cleanup efforts in October, the Eco-Citizens have much more in store for the rest of the 2012-2013 school year. Namely, the club has already begun planning Earth Day activities in April, including an E-waste drive.

"We encourage everyone to get involved, either by joining the Eco-Citizens Club, or simply by contributing in any way they can," Cockerill said.

Mac McDonough is a freelance writer