El Salvador Partners Win the J. Kirby Simon Forest Service Trust

Seven months ago, I met Trees, Water & People thanks to this very blog. I was looking for an organization in El Salvador working in one of the areas that I consider most essential to life: planting trees. Meeting them was loving them: after a few google searches and a few e-mails, I knew I had found my counterparts.

I wanted to partner with TWP to support reforestation activities in El Salvador. I work in the US Embassy in San Salvador and, as an employee, I can apply to grants from the J. Kirby Simon Foreign Service Trust, an organization that has supported volunteer efforts of employees working at U.S. diplomatic missions worldwide for 21 years. Fast forward to September 2016: Armando Hernández, the director of Arboles, Agua, y el Pueblo in El Salvador, and I designed a project that just won $3,000 from the J. Kirby Simon Trust to support tree planting efforts in my country.

 

Verónica Vásquez Cuerno
Verónica Vásquez Cuerno planting trees in El Salvador (photo by Inés Pacas).

 

Thanks to this small project, Arboles, Agua, y el Pueblo El Salvador will improve the facilities of its newly acquired tree nursery and will have part of the funds necessary to grow the 40,000 saplings in 2017. It’s not difficult to see that TWP and their partners in El Salvador have invested their hearts and souls into the organization’s mission. I feel proud to be able to support their efforts, and I hope volunteers from the U.S. Embassy and other organizations will join us in giving El Salvador the green environment that we all deserve.

But 2017 seems so far away, and I am impatient, so a couple of weeks ago I made the first trial of mobilization of volunteers. I did so by promoting the planting of 600 trees in the Ecoparque El Espino, a forest/coffee plantation in the San Salvador Volcano, managed by a campesino cooperative. I thought of this when I heard that Armando still had trees to plant from those grown in 2016. We had to take advantage of the rainy season’s last weeks, to allow the saplings to survive in their new home.

Volunteers in El Salvador
Volunteers in El Salvador working together to plant trees (photo by Giselle Méndez).

Along with my closest friends, we collected additional funds (so we could leave the J. Kirby Simon’s funds intact), and we put together a group of 30 people, including Scouts and members of the Cooperative El Espino. In six hours, we planted saplings of the species we Salvadorans know as San Andrés, Madrecacao, Black Cedar, Cocoa and Maquilishuat, which is a symbol of my country. We ended up exhausted and happy! Although we slipped in the mud, went up and down a steep hillside a thousand times, got soaked in the rain, and ate a snack spiced up with dirt (yum!), we all shared this feeling of achievement; that together we added a little heritage to El Salvador.

I am aware that this little project will not stop global warming or even deforestation in my beloved Ecoparque. I also know that if even only 60 of the 600 saplings survive, it will be a gain. Still, I want to allow myself a moment of optimism and I want to believe that at this critical moment, it’s the collective strength of people that will save our world and our humanity. We must continue to try and keep our forests growing —forests are our source of life, green, and peace and they are worth the effort.

To learn more about Trees, Water & People, please visit www.treeswaterpeople.org. Our grassroots conservation efforts depend on friends and donors investing in our work. We hope you will join our community today!

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TWP Launches New 100% Replanted Website

100 percent replanted

We are excited to announce the launch of our new and improved 100% Replanted website! The 100% Replanted Program offers businesses and individuals a way to easily and affordably offset their paper use by supporting Trees, Water & People’s Reforestation Programs in Latin America. We have designed simple-to-use paper calculators that will help you or your business determine your paper footprint. You can offset the paper from one event, one month of business, or your entire annual paper footprint. This innovative program allows you to reduce, reuse, recycle, and replant!

Trees Water & People and our local partners manage the planting and care for all the trees purchased through the 100% Replanted Program. The trees are planted on private and public lands throughout Central America. Since 1998, TWP has planted more than 5.6 million trees in Central America, Haiti, and the United States. Planting trees in Latin America has several important benefits: the cost of planting is low, the trees grow quickly in the tropical climate, and the tree nurseries create jobs for local people.

To learn more about how you or your business can become “100% Replanted” please visit www.replanttrees.org.

Corporate Partner Spotlight: Green Ride Colorado

green ride colorado tree planting

Green Ride Colorado is a Northern Colorado company that exemplifies what it means to be environmentally conscious and socially responsible. Not only are they greatly reducing the number of cars on the road, they also provide customers with the opportunity to plant trees when they make a reservation. Every tree planted improves water quality and local soils in El Salvador, making communities stronger and healthier for generations to come.

We are honored to work with Green Ride and their customers. With more than 5,616 trees planted since 2012, this is truly an impactful partnership!

To book a shuttle with Green Ride please visit www.greenrideco.com and don’t forget to choose the tree planting option at check out.

Thank You Redwood Partners!

The relationships that we form with businesses from around the country, and the world, make much of our work possible. Thanks to these innovative partnerships, we have been able to complete important community-based sustainable development projects around the globe. Thank you 2014 Redwood partners!

Redwood Partners

To view a full list of our 2014 Corporate Partners and to learn more about how your business can partner with Trees, Water & People click here >>

The Big Move: Relocating 25,000 seedlings in El Salvador

el salvador tree nursery

The small town of El Porvenir has been home to our Salvadoran tree nursery for many years, producing nearly 600,000 trees for reforestation efforts in El Salvador. Our dedicated local team, Arboles y Agua para el Pueblo (AAP), takes great pride in growing every tree from seed, caring for each seedling until it is ready to be planted on a local farm, protected area, or within local communities. These trees are, of course, important for environmental protection efforts. But beyond that, they also represent improved livelihoods, jobs, and nutrition for rural communities.

tree nursery el salvador
25,000 seeds planted and ready to be moved

For the past several years, we have been grateful to a local coffee producer for allowing us to use his land for our nursery operations. Unfortunately, we were recently notified that we could no longer use the land, as the coffee company had gone out of business. So, after spending many long days planting 25,000 tree seedlings and setting up the infrastructure for the season, the staff at AAP had to move the entire nursery to a new location in El Porvenir. Frustrating? Yes! But, tree planting must go on and nothing is going to get in the way of those efforts.

The tree nursery has been successfully relocated, but this is only a temporary solution. In the coming months, we will be working with AAP to search for land that we can buy, securing a location for our tree nursery for many years to come. Stay tuned for updates on our land search in El Salvador!

new tree nursery
Working the land at the new nursery location

Notes from the Field: A New Season Begins in Nicaragua

by Sebastian Africano, International Director

Nicaragua tree nursery

A new season is beginning at Trees, Water & People’s three Nicaraguan tree nurseries.  The end of the year is when the nurseries are cleaned and prepared for the next season’s plantings.  We’ve bought most of our seed, most of our soil substrate, and staff have started to build the rows in which hundreds of thousands of trees will be planted.

In partnership with Proleña, TWP will grow our reforestation program in Nicaragua along three major lines in 2013.  One is producing trees for our network of Forest Replacement Associations and their farmers.  These farmers grow trees on their land to diversify their income through forest products like fruit, fuel, and in the longer term, lumber.

Nicaragua reforestationThe next line is growing trees for demonstration plots at the National Center for Biomass Energy and Climate Change Research, in La Paz Centro, Nicaragua.  We have plans in place for the creation of this new center and we are working with our partners to develop agroforestry models appropriate to the local climate, soils, and hydrology.

The third and most important, is finding ways to keep our supporters – both individual supporters and corporate partners – appraised of our progress throughout the year.  Global Giving is one great channel through which to do this, but our blog and website are other great sources of information that help us stay connected.

Thank you always for your kind support, and never hesitate to get in touch to see how you or people you know can get more involved in supporting TWP’s reforestation projects. You can reach me by email at sebastian@treeswaterpeople.org.

Happy holidays from all of us at TWP!