Help people and the planet this holiday season!

Trees, Water & People

With your help, 2011 was a year of great progress at Trees, Water & People.  We were able to help thousands of families in communities all over the western hemisphere raise their standard of living and improve their local environments.

Some of the highlights of what you helped us accomplish include:

  • Producing 352,818 seedlings in our Central American tree nurseries
  • Building 4,642 clean cookstoves for families in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti
  • Distributing 60 solar air heating systems to Native American families
  • Training 51 Renewable Energy Warriors

None of this work would have been possible without your generosity. Each year we are absolutely humbled by your continual support and with your help we can finish this year strong.

There are so many ways for you to make a difference this holiday season. For only $20 you can purchase a cookstove for a family in Haiti, bringing them a safer and more economical way to cook each meal. For only $50 you can plant 50 seedlings in one of our Central American tree nurseries, helping to reforest communities and protected areas. For only $100 you can help fund Green Job training for a Native American, creating sustainable livelihoods for people in need.

I hope you will make an end-of-year donation and consider how you might be able to improve the lives of families throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Thank you and have a joyous holiday season!

Richard Fox
National Director

Photo of the Week: Solar Warrior

Henry Red Cloud, TWP's partner and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, stands outside of the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Straw Bale Home Workshop at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center

The Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota, has a major housing crisis. It is common place to have Lakota families living in conditions of extreme overcrowding, with 3 to 4 families inhabiting one three-bedroom home. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and many use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources. The Lakota people are living in third world conditions, right in our own backyard!

In partnership with Henry Red Cloud, Pine Ridge resident and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, we are working to bring sustainable housing solutions to reservation communities and we need your help! We have started by constructing a straw bale home demonstration site at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), complete with solar heating and lighting. This demonstration site will provide TWP’s Tribal Lands Renewable Energy Program with a place to conduct workshops, share knowledge, and pass on green building skills throughout Indian Country. This will be the beginning of a long-term project to bring hundreds of straw bale homes to the Pine Ridge Reservation, providing families with dignified living conditions that every human being deserves.

You can help support this project by making a donation today! Click here to donte.

Notes from the Field: A Vision Unfolds

By Pete Iengo, TWP Office Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

August 11, 2011: Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

Day 3 of the Straw Bale Workshop, Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center

Celebrating walls, a roof, and a long days work!

Today we started the day off by stacking the final bales up to the roof and stuffed all the gaps that were between the rest of the bales.  Finally we are ready to have a mud party!    We started on the inside.  The first plops of mud were slapped on by Henry and his grandsons.  It felt appropriate that this process was initiated across Lakota generational lines.  This very well could be an excellent community-based, sustainable solution for people on the reservation.

The rest of us were quick to join in…; its a lot of fun slapping mud on to the house.  There was no shortage of mudders, because well, it’s so fun!  The whole day there was lots of friendly mud slinging, slapping and hand printing.

Standing inside of the house mudding all day allowed you to feel how efficient it will be…; it is nice and cool!  The windows and door are strategically placed, according to the vision of Henry Red Cloud’s father.  The entire design was passed along to Henry orally and memorized so that it could be rebuilt one day.  That day is upon us.  It us humbling to be here and see the vision unfold.  This house is the seed of a vision that will help people across Indian Country; a prototype for a sustainable housing solution here on the rez.

You can contribute to sustainable housing on tribal lands by clicking here!

Notes from the Field: Sustainable Housing Solutions

By Jon Becker, TWP Board President

August 8th, 2011: Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

We arrived yesterday at about 5:30, thought we might be driving through a tornado in the last few miles.  We’re all in one piece.  We were able to go to the local fairgrounds for the final day of the annual Oglala Lakota gathering.  We saw unbelievable costume regalia, dancing, drumming, and song.  We were all moved and honored to be able to experience this.

Today’s action –  the foundation has been completed – earth bags laid up four courses high and tamped down into place.  Roof framing, using recycled plywood I-beams, completed, plywood roof sheathing underway, close to done.  Very interesting and diverse crew.  About a dozen from Re-Member non-profit located across the road that does a variety of service projects.  Re-Member staff

and visitors (from assorted Midwest locations, including a couple bicycling across the country) are here.  About six visitors from Northern Cheyenne reservation, who recently did solar air heater training and installations with Henry, are here, very eager to be helping out.  Two travelers from North Carolina have come.  Seven TWP staff, board, and friends are working, along with Henry’s sons Cyrus and Avery, and a few grandchildren.  Dave Kaplan and Lindsay Herrara of Fort Collins are doing remarkable experimentation and testing to determine the optimum “recipe” for stucco made from local clay which we’ll use to create a weatherproof exterior surface on top of the straw.   You can really feel the space now – a 24′ diameter circle, lots of natural (often local and recycled) materials, and good clean human energy going into it.  Nobody’s gotten hurt!  We’re having fun.  Please don’t rain on us (too hard).

You can help us finish this project by making a donation online! Click here to support sustainable straw bale homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Help Raise Funds for Straw Bale Homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation

The Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota, has a major housing crisis. It is common place to have Lakota families living in conditions of extreme overcrowding, with 3 to 4 families inhabiting one three-bedroom home. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and many use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources. The Lakota people are living in third world conditions, right in our own backyard!

Straw bale Home + Solar Heat = Sustainability

In partnership with Henry Red Cloud, Pine Ridge resident and owner of Lakota Solar Enterprises, we are working to bring sustainable housing solutions to reservation communities and we need your help!  We will begin by constructing a straw bale demonstration site at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), complete with solar heating and lighting. This demonstration site will be a place to conduct workshops, share knowledge, and pass on green building skills throughout Indian Country.  This will be the beginning of a long-term project to bring 600 straw bale houses to the Pine Ridge Reservation, providing families with dignified living conditions that every human being deserves.  Please join us in this effort and consider a donation to this important fundraiser.

How can you help? Make a donation, share this with a friend, donate your birthday (click here to learn how), join us for a FREE straw bale home workshop on Pine Ridge.

Donate Button

Straw Bale Construction Workshop — Aug. 8-12 — FREE

You are invited to a free training and volunteer opportunity to help build a demonstration straw bale home on our partner, Henry Red Cloud’s, property at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

What: Straw bale home construction training and volunteer trip
Where: Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Arrive: Sunday evening/ afternoon, August 7 (you may wish to arrive in time for the Pine Ridge Pow Wow).
Work: Monday-Friday, Aug 8-12
Depart: Saturday, Aug 13
Why: Learn about straw bale construction and help Henry build this demonstration of efficient, affordable housing for Native Americans living on reservations.

Lodging:

  • All are invited to camp on Henry’s property at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. Please bring your own camping equipment.

Transportation:

  • In general, you will be responsible for your own transport to/ from Henry’s.
  • For those of you traveling from Fort Collins, CO on Sunday and returning on Saturday, I will be happy to facilitate carpools.

Food:

  • Our options for food will depend on the number of volunteers who sign-up.
  • For now, you should assume that you will be responsible for your own food and preparation.
  • TWP is happy to share its kitchen equipment including a stove and shelter. If there are 40 of us, you may be happy you brought your own camp stove…
  • There is a small convenience store about 9 miles from Henry’s.

To Reserve Your Spot:
Please email Lacey Gaechter at lacey@treeswaterpeople.org or call us at (970) 484-3678.

  • Let Lacey know when you plan to arrive/ depart.
  • Where you’ll be coming from.
  • If you’d like a ride or to offer a ride from Fort Collins.
  • Any questions that you have.

We hope you can join us in bringing sustainable housing options to the Lakota People!

Can’t attend but still want to help? Click here to donate to our straw bale fundraiser online!

Notes from the Field: Tree Planting on the Pine Ridge Reservation

By Megan Maiolo, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

June 6th, 2011: Pine Ridge Reservation, SD

We spent the last 4 days on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Lakota.  With the help of over 20 volunteers, we planted 94 trees around homes on the Reservation.  These trees will provide families with windbreak from the bitter winter winds, shade from the intense summer heat, and, most importantly, the beauty of nature around homes.

TWP Board President Jon Becker plants trees with Noah Red Cloud in the Fraggle Rock neighborhood on Pine Ridge.

The majority of the trees were planted in the Fraggle Rock neighborhood, where many of the homes have been built by Alliance Builders, a great nonprofit based in Pine Ridge.  After we were finished we enjoyed a community potluck, drum circle, and fire show.  Celebrating the work with the communities we serve was the most rewarding part of this experience.

Pine Ridge is a magical place; the energy you feel when you are among the Lakota, our Nation’s First People, is powerful and often hard to describe.  The Lakota have a strong connection to the land, physically and spiritually, a connection that American society could greatly benefit from if it was explored and respected more.  This is a group of people that thrived on the Great Plains for thousands of years, up until the late 1800’s, when they were systematically slaughtered and pushed off their land by the U.S. government.  This genocide culminated with the massacre at Wounded Knee in the winter of 1890.  Since this time, the Lakota have been struggling to survive and preserve their culture.

The Tree Huggers!

Although this is the poorest place in the U.S., the Lakota are hopeful that positive change will come to their people, bringing with it a sense of healing for one of the most oppressed groups of people in this Nation’s history.

Thank you to our partner and dear friend Henry Red Cloud for hosting us and opening up his property for us to camp on.  In addition, we would like to send warm thank yous to all of our Lakota friends who accepted us into their community with open arms.  We are looking forward to the next trip to Pine Ridge, where we can share in the activities that make this a better place to live!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.