Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Following the news since 1972

The North Star

Communities Students Junior Project: Akan Acres


On Friday, April 26, the Communities Program at Oshkosh North, in conjunction with the City of Oshkosh Forestry Department, planted trees for Arbor Day and renamed the green space behind the school Akan Acres. 

Juniors Connor Palmquist, Charlie Clark and Garret Munig took on the project.

“We really want to see the space back here get used in a good way. North does have so much to offer but we don’t take advantage of what we have.” Palmquist said.

Over the past several years, the city needed to cut down over 200 trees in the area due to diseases. According to the US Forest Service, “Removing and destroying infested trees may reduce the numbers of pests and keeps them from attacking other trees.”

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Now many have noticed the trees behind the school being mass chopped and have been wondering what is going on.

“It’s a wonderful environment and an excellent resource. Now trying to replace these trees there’s a lot of schools that don’t have something like this. Unfortunately buckthorn came through and took a lot of  the ash. But trying to create better ecosystems and get the pond restored so it can be used. So students can utilize the pond as an educational resource,” said Landscapes operation managerTravis Durks.

In renaming it Akan Acres, organizers wanted to pay tribute to a former educator who taught science at Oshkosh North: Mr. Bill Akan. Akan was an avid hunter, fisherman, and DNR volunteer.

“Bill Akan was a science teacher here at North for many many years. When I started here in 1993, Bill was one of those go-to guys not only because he knew science, but he loved environmental science. I co-taught with him. He was also the wrestling coach for many years. Great mentor. Right now this area is called the North High Conservatory, but the boys are going to pursue changing it to Akan Acres. I don’t know why we chose it, but that’s just what it ended up being.” said Communities teacher Richard Leib.

While the project may have been chosen by the boys, many of the teachers are happy to see this project bloom.

“I like the peacefulness of the area, and even when I read at home, I will have background noise and usually its birds chirping or that natural landscape. I feel like the older I get, the more I appreciate the birds and the trees and what mother nature has provided for us. So I think this is a great way to add to our space out here and hopefully find more people using it,” says  Communities teacher Gina Munig.

While Munig has a more calming mindset Leib has his own take.

“I think it’s great to see kids taking knowledge and taking passion and taking one more step. Now, 75 people are walking away with more knowledge about not only the space but tree planting. I think what doesn’t get noticed is it’s more than three trees. The boys formed an advisory board so it will go on much longer than just three trees and they did a nature walk this week and collected 15 pounds of trash in this area,” said Leib.

The boys have many great reasons for doing this project and not just for the grade.

Clark was inspired to do this project because he wanted to show love to an often neglected area.

Palmquist is trying to get more usable green space for the school and have people see more of the forest hidden back there

Garrett Munig just enjoys these types of projects.

“I enjoy doing things outside and hands-on things. That’s one of the main reasons for me, and I really just was looking forward to beautifying the space [outside of] Oshkosh North,” Garret Munig said.

Dunkin’ Donuts also held a fundraiser on April 20, when they donated 10% of their sales to the project. The city also helped cover some costs of the trees. 

“Preserving this area will help Oshkosh North grow its community and make North more of a green space for the newer generations,” said Leib.


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Natalie Gray
Natalie Gray, sports editor
class 2026!!! round 2 baby!!! anyways i love t swift!!!
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Spencer Diven, columns editor
'27 Minecraft and YouTube is how I spend my time outside of school. Sometimes I read too..    

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