TWP Partner, Henry Red Cloud, Receives White House Award

Henry Red Cloud at RCREC

Henry Red Cloud – Champion of Change

Today, the White House honored ten local heroes who are “Champions of Change” for their efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

As President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address, the pace of solar deployment has picked up. Last year was a record-breaking year for new solar installations, and the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. has increased around eleven fold – from 1.2 gigawatts in 2008 to an estimated 13 gigawatts today, which is enough to power more than 2.2 million American homes. In fact, every four minutes another American home or business went solar. Whether it is deployed at the utility scale or by rural electric co-ops, businesses, multifamily housing, or new home builders, solar power is now a cost competitive option that offers financial and environmental benefits. This trend has yielded new economic opportunities for many Americans – job growth in the solar industry is now increasing by 20% each year.

President Obama is committed to continuing the momentum. In June 2013, the President launched a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and advance the clean energy economy. As part of that Plan, the President set a goal to double solar, wind, and geothermal electricity generation by 2020 and to more than triple the onsite renewable energy production in federally assisted residential buildings.

Today, at the White House Solar Summit, individuals that are leading the charge across the country to create jobs and economic opportunity in solar power were honored. These leaders are driving policy changes at the local level to further advance solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit

About Henry Red Cloud, Founder & Sole Proprietor of Lakota Solar EnterprisesPine Ridge, SD 

Henry Red Cloud headshotHenry Red Cloud is the Founder and Sole Proprietor of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. One of the first 100% Native American-owned and operated renewable energy companies in the nation, LSE employs tribal members to manufacture and install efficient solar air heating systems for Native American families living on reservations across the Great Plains. Additionally, Henry manages the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), a one-of-a-kind Native educational facility where tribes from around the U.S. receive hands-on green job training in renewable energy technology and sustainable building practices. Henry Red Cloud is providing Native Americans with “a new way to honor the old ways” through sustainable energy solutions that are environmentally sound, economically beneficial, and culturally appropriate.


Volunteer Opportunity: Building with Compressed Earth Block and Straw Bale


building straw bale home

Take this opportunity to travel to Trees, Water & People’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program headquarters on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. A trip to Pine Ridge, home of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, will offer volunteers an unforgettable cultural experience and an opportunity to help complete sustainable building projects. This is a wonderful way to give back, learn new skills, and make new friends!

Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD
When: Thursday, May 1 – Sunday, May 4
Who: Flexible volunteers who like adventure, hard work, lots of fun, and all kinds of weather. Volunteers 14-18 are welcome with adult companions.
Why: To continue our work on our three straw bale homes. A great volunteer and learning experience!

Trip Details


  • TWP will provide volunteers with meals and snacks during the trip.
  • Food purchased by TWP will be simple and tasty, but feel free to bring any food you desire. We will send out a meal plan as the date comes near.
  • TWP cooking equipment and utensils will be available for use.
  • Volunteers will help in preparing all meals and with cleaning up afterwards.


  • All volunteers are responsible for their own transportation and related costs getting to Pine Ridge.
  • We will be happy to coordinate carpools where possible.
  • Our facility is located down a short dirt road. Many sedans have traveled it without any problems.


  • Campers on the Red Cloud Renewable Energy campus must bring their own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag and pad, etc.). Weather is unpredictable, so only those comfortable in the outdoors should camp.
  • There will be beds available in our dorms, but please bring your own bedding (sheets, blanket, pillow, etc.).

To register, please email the following information to Jeff Hargis at :

  1. Name of all people in your volunteer party
  2. Email addresses for all people in your volunteer party
  3. Your cell phone number
  4. Which days you have available to travel to and work in Pine Ridge
  5. Where you will be coming from and returning to (e.g. many people will be coming from Fort Collins, CO)
  6. Whether you will be camping or require a bunk in our loft (first come, first served!)
  7. Do you need a ride?
  8. Can you offer a ride – if so, to how many people?
  9. Any other questions you may have.

Once we have confirmed your spot, he will email you directions to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and provide you with additional details. We hope to see you soon!

Update: El Salvador Tree Nursery Successfully Relocated

new tree nursery_El Porvenir El Salvador

AAP staff water the new nursery after relocating to new land.


Since 2001, we have worked with Arboles y Agua para el Pueblo (AAP) to plant a wide variety of trees in El Salvador. AAP is an ideal organization to work with because they have such a dedicated and hard working staff with close ties to the local communities. Since our partnership began, we have planted nearly 600,000 trees, helping to address environmental degradation caused by deforestation in this small Central American country.

Resiembra de plantulas de Limón en nuevo Vivero Marzo 2014Earlier this year AAP received some bad news. They would have to vacate the land where their tree nursery had been located since 2007 because it was being divided and sold. Armando Hernandez Juarez, the Director of AAP, explained, “We tried to negotiatebut we were told to evict the property immediately as the demolition would begin and the nursery was in the way.”  Moving the nursery would be a huge challenge because AAP had already planted 25,000 seeds, not to mention that they would need to take down, transport, and then rebuild the infrastructure!

Thanks to the generosity of a local family with land available, the AAP team was able to relocate the tree nursery, including the 25,000 bags of soil. The nursery staff worked really hard to make this move happen so we can continue to grow precious trees for reforestation efforts throughout the country. Armando said, “We recognize the work done by our staff to dismantle the nursery in El Carmen and reestablish the new nursery. These people worked hard and without sparing any additional time.”

We are so grateful to our dedicated partners at AAP who have worked tirelessly to keep our nursery in operation. We look forward to seeing this tree nursery bloom with life in the coming months. Great work team!

Doña Tania Alarcón auxiliar de viverista llenando con sustrato las bolsas en el nuevo Vivero Marzo 2014

Tania Alarcón plants seeds at the new tree nursery location.

TWP Joins the Wanderlust Festival’s Greening Team


We are excited to join the Wanderlust Festival’s Greening Team this year! We will be providing travel offsets to guests as well as offsetting the emissions from the production of each festival.

As Wanderlust Festivals explains, “Yoga and environmental stewardship go hand in hand, right? There’s not much explanation needed here, most of us understand. Therefore our Wanderlust Festivals, the embodiment of our Yogic culture and lifestyle need to exemplify this stewardship. Furthermore, Wanderlust needs you to be the source of the sustainability programs because ultimately its you, our attendees, that make the programs a beautiful success or a messy failure.”

So, get involved! If you are planning to attend one of the Wanderlust Festivals don’t forget to offset your travel to the event when you purchase your tickets online.

For more information about the Wanderlust Festival’s greening efforts please visit their website.

How do Travel Offsets work?

travel offset infographic

Upcoming Event: Earth Day Celebration – April 27

Earth Day Fort Collins 2014

Take a walk on the wild side at our 5th Annual Food Co-op Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 27th from 11am-5pm. This year, we’ve partnered with The Fort Collins Food Co-Op, The Downtown Business Association, Bohemian Foundation, School of Global Environmental Sustainability- Colorado State University and The Gearage. Party begins in Old Town Square and crawls onto Mountain Avenue. It’s free and open to all walks of life!

Enjoy live music, Kid Zone crafts and flower planting provided by Gulley Greenhouse Inc., face painting, food trucks, vendors, a silent auction, Septacycle rides and more. Going with our Wildlife theme, the W.O.L.F Sanctuary will be the beneficiaries of the silent auction. Stop by the Food Co-op booth for information on our Party Animal Partners promotion and see how you can save at local business throughout the day! Check out the crafty critters at the Freedom Market.

Dance your fur off in Old Town Square with Fale African Drum and Dance Collective of Fort Collins, Saja Butler, Cool Hand Juke, Lineage Music Project and Ambassador Wolf.

For more information please visit the Fort Collins Food Co-Op website.

Helping Communities in Central America Adapt to a Changing Climate

National Center for Biomass Energy and Climate Change

by Megan Maiolo-Heath, Marketing Manager

For many years, we have been supporting conservation throughout Latin America, helping local people manage their most precious natural resources: trees, soils, and water. During this time, the communities we work with have experienced the negative effects of climate change first-hand, including hurricanes, droughts, flooding, and crop loss.

Here in the U.S. and other developed nations, we are beginning to see how a rapidly changing climate can hurt our environment, economies, and health. But, the poorest people in the world have been feeling the brunt of climate change for years.

Honduran farmer

Local farmers and their families are feeling the effects of climate change first-hand.

We have been working with our partners in Central America to help communities face this challenge by continuing our efforts to plant millions of trees and build clean cookstoves for thousands of families. In addition, we have introduced clean energy products, such as solar lighting and solar cell phone chargers, so families can gain access to energy that does not lead to more pollution and environmental degradation.

But this is not enough. We must continue our work to educate people and share knowledge across borders. This is why TWP is developing the National Center for Biomass Energy and Climate Change in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua.

This new facility will be an educational resource where communities can learn about renewable energy, forest management, clean cookstoves, and clean energy solutions. In addition, we will develop the center as a global facility, where global citizens from around the world will be empowered with the skills needed to adapt to climate change in their region.

2014 Project Timeline:

National Center for Biomass Energy and Climate Change 2014

We have broken ground on the Center and constructed several buildings already. Now, we are moving onto the next phase of development: building classrooms, hands-on demonstration sites, and forestry plots that will make this a unique place for learning and sharing knowledge.

You can support this project by making a donation through our website: Thank you for your support!

For questions about the new Center please contact Sebastian Africano, International Director, at Stay tuned for updates!

Community Voices: Catalina Somoza Calderon

Catalina cooking on el rapidito cookstove

Catalina cooks on a rapidito clean cookstove in Nicaragua.

“I love that we are protecting the environment and saving trees. I also love seeing happy customers and knowing that we are helping them to have better health.” – Catalina Somoza Calderon

In Nicaragua, there are over 4,000 small tortilla-making businesses that provide much needed income to poor households. Nearly all tortilla-makers are women who make the tortillas on a simple hotplate over an open wood fire. Cooking over these open fires exposes women and their children to high levels of toxic smoke, plus fuel wood is very expensive.

Our partners at Proleña have been working to improve the design of these wood burning stoves since it began in Honduras in 1993. It started working in Nicaragua in 1996.

The Ecostove is the product of several years of development by Proleña and their partners, including Trees, Water & People (TWP). Traditionally, tortillas have been baked on a plancha (griddle) over fires. These open fires are very inefficient and use a lot of wood and fill kitchens with deadly smoke, leading to disease and premature deaths.

rapidito clean cookstoveThe key advantages of the Ecostove is its enclosed firebox with insulated walls that increase its efficiency, a chimney that removes smoke from the home, and its portability. Many stove models are constructed within the user’s home, utilizing earth and bricks, but the Ecostove designs can be manufactured at a central location and then delivered to users in different parts of the country, creating local jobs and increased scale of clean cookstove projects.

Catalina Somoza Calderon is one person who has benefited from Proleña’s cookstove program. She has worked for Proleña for nine years and is very passionate about her job and the mission of the organization. Not only does she have employment promoting clean cookstoves to women, she also uses the Ecostoves in her own home.

Catalina uses one of the small, portable stoves known as the rapidito, or “the quick one.” She says, “I like the stove because it has saved me a lot of money on fuel and doesn’t turn my pots and pans black.”

This is a great example of how we strive to not only protect the environment, but also improve people’s livelihoods. Our local partners always manage conservation projects with community and family well-being in mind!