Help Build a Home for the Shields Family

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Trees, Water & People (TWP) will help build an earth-friendly home using compressed earth blocks for Paul Shields, his wife and three children. Paul is the son of Oglala Lakota political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, and is carrying forward dreams of a better future. “My dad will be happy I finally have my own home and can pass it on to his grandkids after I’m gone.” With your help, we will work with builders, volunteers, EARTHinBLOCK, and Lakota Solar Enterprises to construct Paul’s new home this summer.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

The harsh climate on Pine Ridge Reservation can vary from -40 to 120 degrees. Typical homes are poorly maintained & insulated, with extremely high energy bills. In keeping with his Lakota values of caring for the Earth for future generations, Paul “wants something more sustainable and better for my children and a room of their own for the first time. I want to provide them with a solid home that stays warm in the winter.”

How will this project solve this problem?

Compressed earth block (CEB) construction is a very old and proven approach. The blocks have thick thermal mass that provides an energy efficient structure that keeps cool in summer and warm in winter. Paul learned CEB construction last year while creating an office building for LSE, and now has first-hand experience in soil testing, pressing blocks, and applying natural finishes to the outside that protect it from the elements.

CEB House

Potential Long Term Impact

Paul Shields will finally be a proud homeowner. The value of a well-insulated home for someone living on the Great Plains cannot be underestimated. Like many Native people on reservations, basic infrastructure like running water and electricity is not a given. Building Paul’s home from CEBs will serve as a model for other Native families to consider. TWP will promote this project as a demonstration of how a well-built, low-cost hone can be constructed for families in need.

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Support TWP While You Holiday Shop!


Doing any of your holiday shopping online? When you order from AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Trees, Water & People. This is an easy way to support our programs, so sign-up today!

Bookmark this link and support us every time you shop!

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Bonus Day – Donations matched 50% today!

Today is a Bonus Day at! When you donate to one of our projects on GlobalGiving today, your donation will be matched 50%. Plus, the organization with the most individual donors will receive a $1,000 bonus!

DONATE to one of the following projects that support renewable energy and economic development on tribal lands:
entrepreneurs fund_enews
help build SEL
support organic farming2
There is only $130,000 in matching funds available, so please don’t delay in making your gift!

Project Update: 100 Clean Cookstoves in Guatemala

clean cookstove guatemala

In partnership with Catapult, we have raised funds to support 100 clean cookstoves in Guatemala. Thanks to generous donors, the project was fully funded. Ut’z Che’, a local environmental conservation and community development organization on the ground in Guatemala, will install the cookstoves. These life-changing stoves will replace open fire stoves¬†that consumes massive amounts of wood and pollute homes with indoor air pollution.


Local partner Ut’z Ch√© has had preliminary meetings with three communities, in which we will implement the next phase of the cookstove program. ¬†Our¬†approach always involves several initial meetings to ensure community buy-in and to establish the co-investment plan. ¬†Usually home visits are conducted to ensure a match between cooking customs and the proposed cookstove design, the community is given a list of materials for each household to prepare prior to construction, and a timeline is set to 1) build a few demonstration stoves for feedback, and 2) begin full roll out of the program.

Construction in the three communities is scheduled to start this month, with two new clean cookstove models being tested for efficacy and acceptance by beneficiaries. Among those trained to install the cookstoves will be youth groups in the different communities, adding an important, specialized skill set to their portfolio, and some much needed income to their pockets.

Nuevo Modelo a Construir Propuesta
A new clean cookstove design to be tested by community members.

Risks and Challenges

With any clean cookstove project, you have to make sure that the technology you propose matches the needs and cooking habits in the community where it will be used. In Guatemala that challenge is especially pertinent, as there are over 20 ethnic groups in the country, many with their own specialized cooking preferences. For the 100 cookstoves funded by this Catapult project, we will be presenting three variations on our local cookstove design, the Emelda stove, to account for cultural and culinary differences. Additionally, due to our limited capacity, we will have to stagger the implementation of these projects to coincide with demand, availability of materials and road conditions during the rainy season.

Up Close

Rosa Jer√≥nimo de Ortiz: “With the traditional stove I used before, my kitchen walls were always black from the amount of smoke that it produced. ¬†My husband and children didn’t like to spend time in the kitchen with me because their eyes would tear up, especially during the rainy season when firewood comes damp. When this cookstove project started, the women of my community were overjoyed, as these projects benefit us principally. ¬†Now I even have my kitchen table in the same room as the stove!”

Next Steps

Next steps include building demonstration stoves in the three communities where we plan to work.  We always learn from this experience, as we get direct feedback from the eventual users about what will work for them and what will not.  After the designs are agreed upon, we will initiate construction in groups of 20 Р25 in each community, aiming to entice even more participants to invest in an improved cookstove design as we install the 100 funded by this project.

new clean cookstove design Guatemala

To learn more about this project please visit

Bonus Day – 30% match on donations!

GlobalGiving Bonus Day

Today is a Bonus Day at! Make your donations go even farther. When you support one of our projects on GlobalGiving today, your donation will be matched by 30%. Plus, the organization with the most individual donors will receive a $1,000 bonus.

Support one of the following projects that help both people and the planet:
Sacred Earth Lodge
Solar Warrior Farm
P.S. There are only $75,000 in matching funds available, so don’t delay in making your gift today.¬†

TWP Featured on Groupon Grassroots!

solar warrior farm_Groupon

We’ve got some exciting news: We’re teaming up with Groupon Grassroots, the philanthropic arm of Groupon, to fund a new growing season at Solar Warrior Farm!

Grassroots is a community outreach initiative within Groupon that brings people together to do good, have fun, and create positive change in their community. With this initiative, we’ll be aiming to support Solar Warrior Farm and organic farming workshops, both of which are important parts of our Food Security Program on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Since you are essential to our success, we want you to be the first to know about our campaign. It’s¬†important that we build momentum‚ÄĒhere‚Äôs how you can help:

1. If you haven’t already, subscribe to Groupon:¬†

2. Visit the Groupon site, and check out our deal: $10 to Help Support Solar Warrior Farm

3. Be the first to give by supporting the Solar Warrior Farm and spread the word to friends and family, encouraging them to do the same.


Upcoming Event: Wine and Cheese Tasting to Benefit TWP

December 16, 2013
6:00-8:00 pm
216 Pine Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524
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The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop is pleased to partner with Trees, Water & People for an enjoyable open house evening. ¬†Each season, The Welsh Rabbit introduces three new Wine Flights which have been chosen by friends who enjoy wine. ¬†This Winter, Sebastian and his cousin Pato, chose three wonderful Chilean Wines. ¬†We’ll be pairing these wines with cheeses, meat, and chocolate, plus a locally made baguette thrown in for good measure! ¬†For each ticket sold, The Welsh Rabbit will donate $10 to TWP.
Flight of 3 Wines
Flight of 3 Cheeses
Baguettes, Chorizo, & Chocolate
(additional glasses of wine, $7)
Please call The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop to RSVP at (970) 232-9521 or email

Limited Edition T-shirts Supporting TWP!

The Hamper

Visit The Hamper to get your limited-edition t-shirt today – designs inspired by our mission! A portion of your purchase will support our community-based development projects in Latin America and on Native American reservations in the United States.

Today is Colorado Gives Day!

Colorado Gives Day 2012

Today is Colorado Gives Day, a special annual event where thousands of people support their favorite Colorado nonprofit organizations, like Trees, Water & People, through online giving! Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support families in Central America, Haiti, and on Native American reservations of the U.S. who are struggling with energy poverty. Your donation will help us provide solar heating, clean cookstoves, and solar lighting to people who do not have access to electricity. One small gift today can make a huge difference for a family in need!

When you make a generous donation today:

  • 100% of your gift will go to Trees, Water & People (no credit card fees)
  • The value of your donation will be increased by the FirstBank Incentive Fund
  • There will be hourly opportunities for TWP to win $1,000 and $10,000 prizes

To donate now please visit