4 Generations of Tree Planting

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4 Generations of Tree Planters!

10,000 SW Douglas Fir tree seedlings from the San Juan Mountains have gone into the ground near the Tent Rocks National Monument on Santo Domingo (Kewa) Pueblo’s Tribal Lands; the 3,000 remaining seedlings were taken to the Santa Fe Indian School by Cochiti tribal members where they will be planted by students and community leaders on nearby public lands.

With the help of the Santo Domingo Pueblo War Chief and his lieutenant, we were able to recruit over 15 volunteers from the local tribe to gather last week to inaugurate and launch our first joint reforestation project! As we’ve reported previously, the “Las Conchas” forest fire of 2011 devastated the highlands of the Pueblo community where Douglas Fir trees used for traditional ceremonial and conservation purposes were burned en masse. Trees, Water & People’s collaboration with the Kewa Pueblo is a one of a kind reforestation program that marries indigenous traditions and customs with climate resilience strategies of the West.

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Training the volunteers on the basics

After delivering the seedlings to the Pueblo’s greenhouse last Tuesday, we settled into a meeting at the Governor’s office where strategy, timeline, and scope of the project were revisited one final time. We originally planned to start planting on Wednesday, but due to heavy rains, the War Chief and his staff decided to hold off one more day for the climate to dry. Nevertheless, rain is a significant blessing and element for many Pueblo communities – the timing of our delivery of the seedlings felt more than apt. Thursday morning, we embarked to the planting site on top of the mountain in a line of 4WD trucks carrying just under 900 seedlings.

Rocky road conditions aside, we arrived at the site just shy of the morning breeze and kicked off the day with a prayer from the War Chief himself and a short, hands-on training on our methods and strategy. Unlike ponderosa pines, we learned from the New Mexico State Forestry Division that Douglas Fir seedlings like to be planted in cluster patterns of about 25 seedlings spread 2-3 feet from each other; this is a term called “nucleation”. The volunteer crew was quick to learn, and everyone was happy to teach one another, even in their native language.

Most impressive of all – beyond any technical achievements or success – is the multi-generational impact and participation that a project like this generates. We remember the recurring sentiment expressed by the War Chief and other elders in the community throughout the day:

“We may not be around here long enough to see these trees mature, but it’s important we have our youth here to experience it and participate in the work themselves as they are the future stewards of these lands”. 

At every stage of sustainable development, TWP’s core mission has always been to empower local people to manage the natural resources they depend on, and we believe this happens best at the participatory level. The local tribe thanks you for your donations and commitment to the well-being of their community and their land – your dedication is what helps climate vulnerable communities continue to be resilient and powerful amidst our changing environment.

To learn more about how you can support our reforestation program on Tribal Lands, visit – https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/indigenous-west-reforestation/

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Swinging into the ground to make room for a seedling

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.

 

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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.

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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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Project 7 Products Plant Trees, Save The Earth

This gum plants a fruit tree!

Project 7 is a cause-related company that makes everyday goods like coffee, bottled water, gum and mints take on a deeper meaning.  Project 7’s  Save the Earth products help Trees, Water & People plant fruit trees with rural families in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.   So far this year, customer purchases have contributed to planting 27,286 fruit trees, benefiting over 2,500 families by giving them access to fresh fruit that can be consumed and/or sold for extra income.  In addition, fruit trees add beauty to each family’s home.

Funds from this joint venture directly benefit TWP partners like  Arboles y Agua para el Pueblo (AAP) in  El Salvador.  AAP is a dedicated team that makes our detailed nursery work possible.

The AAP team take a break from working the nursery.

Their efforts to meticulously collect seeds, make compost,  fill each bag with soil, plant each seed, water 40,000 seedlings daily,  and watch them grow into trees make our nurseries a community-led success. When the time is right and the rains have fallen, our reforestation team facilitates workshops to educate families about the importance of tree planting and how fruit trees can enhance their family’s well-being.

By partnering with forward thinking companies like Project 7 we are collectively helping  thousands of families and making the earth a greener, bountiful, healthier place to live.

Click here to see where you can purchase Project 7 products.

Are you a company interested in partnering with Trees, Water & People? Please call Megan Maiolo at (970) 484-3678 or email megan@treeswaterpeople.org to learn more.

A tree nursery in El Salvador houses over 40,000 seedlings that will soon be planted throughout surrounding communities.

TWP Goes Platinum in the Climate Wise Program

TWP has been a member of the City of Fort Collins Climate Wise Program since 2007.  Now, in 2011, we have reached the highest level within the program: Platinum Partner!

Through environmental assessments and creative solutions, the Climate Wise Team helps businesses tackle modern-day business challenges that impact bottom lines and the quality of life in Fort Collins.  To date, the voluntary program has over 200 business partners.  Climate Wise staff work with these local partners to implement energy, water, transportation and waste reduction programs, saving each business money while, at the same time, greatly improving our local environment.

Trees, Water & People’s 2010 Accomplishments:

  • Planted 805,093 trees = 161,000 tons of CO2
  • Built 7,909 clean cookstoves = 59,318 tons of CO2
  • Replaced 6 T-12 light bulbs with efficient T-8 bulbs
  • Installed locking outdoor mailbox so that we could seal off the draft from our mail slot
  • Saved 1,560 gallons of water a year by installing two low flow toilets
  • Installed compost bins beneath all of our paper towel dispensers
  • Relocated our bike rack to front, covered porch for safety, convenience, and to promote bike commuting

 

Happy World Water Day 2011!

Happy World Water Day! Today, and in many cases everyday, people around the world are working to bring attention to the importance of fresh water, the key to our survival, as well as advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Planting trees directly contributes to the long-term health of a communities watershed.

At Trees, Water & People, we work to maintain watershed health by planting thousands of trees in Central America and Haiti each year.  We are dedicated to helping communities sustainably manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends.

From the official Word Water Day website:

This is the first time in human history that most of the world’s population live in cities: 3.3 billion people …and the urban landscape continues to grow.

38% of the growth is represented by expanding slums, while the city populations are increasing faster than city infrastructure can adapt.

The objective of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.

This year theme, Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management.