Letter from the Board
by John Becker, TWP Board Member
For some ten years now, I have been a donor, volunteer, and board member of Trees, Water & People (TWP). It has been a privilege to become involved with the outstanding staff, partner network, generous supporters, and perhaps best of all, be invited into the homes of our clients to witness the impacts of our programs. To describe these experiences as rewarding and humbling is an understatement.
I’ve had another exceptional opportunity recently to get out onto the front lines of TWP’s continuing mission to empower communities to take positive, sustainable steps in the management of their natural resources. I volunteered to stand in for our International Director (now father of two!), went to Panama to meet with a new potential partner, Planting Empowerment (PE), and witnessed their very innovative model for rural agroforestry.
Planting Empowerment is the brainchild of four recently returned Peace Corps Volunteers. We drove to where the road ended in the Darien Province of eastern Panama, and visited tiny villages where PE is creating a for-profit, socially conscious enterprise which pays subsistence farmers to use some of their land to plant a succession of tree species that will provide assorted financial returns over 25 years.
It was great to see, and incredible to travel to – and absolutely bold and daring as an investment. Will it work? I don’t know. Do I want it to? You bet! I also bet that 17 years ago, when our co-founders were launching TWP, that our ideas to do rural tree nurseries, clean cookstoves, and solar heating systems looked similarly far fetched. But in the words of the writer/thinker/doer Paul Hawken, “Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.” That’s what we’re doing. Thanks for being on our team.
Fell free to contact me at anytime with questions or comments about Trees, Water & People’s work at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please click here to read the Spring 2015 Forests Forever newsletter!