It’s Unofficially Officially Spring!

Happy Earth Week!

Spring is here! We’ve been waiting to say these three words with an exclamation mark for a while. We didn’t know when we could say them out loud. Officially, we could have said them 32 days ago, but many people wouldn’t have heard us. That’s because they were wearing earmuffs and hats that cover their ears. You need to stay warm when you’re digging yourself out of six foot snow drifts.

Now, 32 days later, the not-so-official announcement that spring has truly arrived has arrived. We’re making a prediction. We’re not meteorologists, but we have been outside. We also have weather apps. We’ve seen the snow melting. The temperatures hit a tropical 60 degrees in Minnesota, and we realize it’s almost May. It’s a safe bet that spring is here to stay. Of course, we’re not 100 percent certain. We got fooled two weeks ago with a blizzard and one foot of snow.

anchorman-2_-the-legend-con

Who says that humans are the only ones with a sense of humor?

Like our official announcement of spring, we’re also announcing the kick off our tree giveaway, which will be happening at schools and communities across the US this week! If you signed-up to receive a tree with your child this week, thank you for joining us.

rolling-up-sleeve

So yes, the time has finally come. It’s time to pack away our parkas, scarves, earmuffs, woolen hats, mitts and other winter paraphernalia to the attic. It’s time to replace the snow shovels with garden shovels. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty again.

Tree planting season is back. And spring is finally, officially, we-really-think-so-this-time, absolutely here!

We’re in the Home Stretch!

 

French-Bulldog-Stretch

 

Spring has sprung!

That’s right. In just a few weeks, the tree giveaway will be happening at schools and communities across the US (and even in parts of Canada!).

Did you register for a tree this year? Awesome! You’re all set.

Slipped your mind? Forgot to tie that string on your finger? That’s okay. You’ve earned your good karma points. You still have a chance to register for a tree until Sunday, April 9 even if your school’s deadline has passed.

Is your child’s school participating this year? Can’t remember? You can find out here. Don’t see your child’s school on the list? That’s okay too. You can sign up here. (Make sure you do this on a tablet, laptop or desk computer.)

 

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Spring may be the season for tree planting, but there’s some “family members” that haven’t been feeling the tree hugging love.

You might know one or two. We know one. Surprised how we overlooked him. He loves to dig. He loves dirt and after fire hydrants trees are his best friend. If anyone was a natural at tree planting (or tree wetting!), it’s him!

So rather than feeling left out this year, he took the initiative. We still don’t know how he learned to type. But that’s for another day.

Right now it’s time to exhale, lift our heads up and stretch towards Earth Day. As you enjoy this spring season with its blossoming flowers, blue skies and warmer weather, remember to keep your umbrellas handy. It’s going to be raining trees for the next few weeks!

 

 

Ready to Decorate Your Home?

Have you noticed all the new home decorating magazines popping up at checkout counters and bookstores lately? It seems there’s a new one arriving everyday.

Home-Interior-Decorating-Magazines-Inspiring-fine-Subscribe-To-Home-Magazines-Subscriptions-Podcasts-Feed-ImageThere must be hundreds of them now. Some are tied to a famous brand or person. Some have European sounding names. Some are just weird. But regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, most of them are saying the same thing.

Add color! Paint! Renovate! Remodel! Buy nice towels. Done.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit simplified.

Some of the articles have interesting nuggets of advice, but I find most a little over the top. For instance, one magazine suggested my life will find new meaning when I begin to hold regular soirees filled with glitter balloons, spiced pear truffles and some kind of lustrous light candleholders.

Really?

Thanks for the advice, but I’ll pass.

All the inspiration I need is right in front of me. Spring has officially arrived, which means over the next several weeks I’ve got a front row seat to learn from the Mother of all Home Decorators.

Can anyone match her creativity, her brilliance, when it comes to decorating her own home? What’s a glitter balloon compared to a budding flower?  What are spiced pear truffles compared to a juicy, ripe pear she lets me pluck and eat off a tree?

glitter ballon crop

Wouldn’t it be great if we helped Mama Nature out a bit? She’s been doing this for a couple zillion years. 

Of course, we can’t match her attention to detail, but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind some extra help. What if we cared for, decorated and celebrated our collective home with the same zeal as she does, with as much love as those magazines want us to care for and celebrate our individual ones?

The good news is we are. Millions of us are coming together on April 22 to honor the greatest home decorator and greatest home ever.

All of us are contributing in our own small way. Neighborhood Forest, for instance, is launching its biggest tree giveaway yet, hoping to give away nearly 10,000 trees to kids during Earth Week (April 18-22).

Do you want a tree for your child? You can sign up (on a laptop, tablet or desktop computer) to get one. To find out if your child’s school participating, you can go to this link: http://www.neighborhoodforest.org/search-for-school/

We know parent participation increases when kids are involved. If a child wants a tree to plant, we don’t want them to go home from school empty handed. So this year we’ve created a fun video just for them. (See below.)

We hope it will make them smile, reminding them to tell mom or dad not to forget our real “home decorating” day!

Earth Day is coming. Come join the celebration and let’s decorate our home together. 

No glitter balloons necessary.

 

 

 

Vivek Narula is the Director of Neighborhood Forest (@treesforkids) – an organization that gives free trees to schoolchildren every Earth Day.

 

 

And Now a Word from our Spokesman…

Spring is here!

Get the shovels out of the shed, dust off those yard boots, we’re less than two weeks away from Earth Day.

To kick off the season of grass stained knees and dirt-caked hands, Neighborhood Forest’s 7 year old spokesman shares an Earth Day message about feet, footprints and trees.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vivek Narula is the Director of Neighborhood Forest (@treesforkids– an organization that gives free trees to schoolchildren every Earth Day.

We Boogied Down!

Yes, we got our groove on with Mama Earth this year. Two states.  26 schools. Nearly 2500 trees planted.

A big thanks to all our wonderful sponsors who made it possible.

Of course, a big thanks goes out to our participating schools, our incredible school coordinators, the teachers, the parents, and, of course, the children. Your support and participation helped make this year’s tree giveaway our best one yet!

Stay tuned. We’ve got more in store for 2015.  More schools joining us, more trees to be given away and more smiles to bring to the kids.

We hope you enjoy some of these highlights from Earth Week 2014!

 

Wafting Over the Airwaves

Happy 2014! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season and your year is off to a great start.

Jack Frost must be proud of himself. The year’s barely started and he’s already showing off, getting all the attention with record-breaking temperatures and snowfall that’s made even the most fashion-conscious people bundle up, wear snow pants and waddle around like penguins. On the other hand, I snubbed my nose at Mr. Frost and decided to ditch the penguin pants for a pair of lederhosen.

At least it felt like I did. The hills recently were alive with the sound of music. Okay, Julie Andrews wasn’t with me and I wasn’t near any hills, but there was music and conversation in the air, and I was definitely alive.

Neighborhood Forest had a show on KFAI that was filled with the sound of tree-themed music, including a song called Breathing Trees from Minnesota native singer/songwriter Barbara McAfee, and chats with special guests from Lake Harriet School and Seward Community Co-op who talked about their participation in our program.

My brother and founder of Neighborhood Forest, Vikas Narula, spoke about the organization’s past, its vision for the future and the bed-ridden epiphany that made him put trees and children together 4 years ago. No yodeling was involved.

If you missed it you get a second chance to hear it again, even the bloopers — the sound of a disconnected phone, my song segue into a sudden station announcement and other unexpected laughs the whole family will enjoy.

Click on the link below to go to the KFAI website. If you like it, feel free to share. It’s online for a few weeks.

Danke.

http://kfai.org/node/41041

Vivek Narula is the Director of Neighborhood Forest (@treesforkids– an organization that gives free trees to schoolchildren every Earth Day.

Earth Day is Coming. The New Hires are Waiting.

“Mr. Finneas, your 9 am is here.”

“Send him in.”

Door creaks open.

“Come in, come in. You must be Mr. Quercus Alba.”

“Yes, sir. But you can call me Bob.”

“Sure Bob. Please have a seat.”

“I prefer to stand, sir.”

“Sure. Look, Bob, we reviewed your resume and here’s what we think: it’s outstanding. Graduated top of your class. Strong commitment to community service. Ivy League.”

“It’s actually oak, sir.”

“Right. What’s more, you have an impressive skill set.”

“Well, it’s nothing really…I…”

“Nothing? Produce oxygen, improve air quality, clean the soil, control noise pollution, slow storm water run off, provide shade, act as a windbreak, fight soil erosion…”

“Create spreadsheets.”

“Really…I…didn’t…”

“Kidding.”

“Right. Look Bob, your skills are great, but we’re concerned about our bottom line here at Finneas and Fir, and well, you know…”

“Money doesn’t grow on trees, right?”

“Right.”

“Wrong, sir. I increase property values too.”

“Really?”

“Second page, sir, under additional qualifications — next to eye for detail.”

“Right. Well, I think that settles it. Congratulations Bob. You’re hired. Now if we only had more overachievers like you on board, we’d be able to cut out some of the deadwood around here.”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“Figure of speech.”

“Oh.”

If trees were employees, anyone would hire them. They are great workers. They don’t take vacations, they work long hours and definitely don’t embarrass themselves at office parties.

Like any great worker, they impact the environment around them. The roles that trees play in our neighborhoods and our communities directly affect the quality of our air, water and soil. What are some of those roles?

Trees make our lungs happy by cleaning the air. They take in carbon dioxide through their leaves and give off oxygen we need to breathe. A mature tree pumps out as much oxygen in one season as 10 people will inhale in an entire year.

When there’s rain, a tree’s roots help hold soil in place to prevent erosion, which not only saves soil but also keeps our streams, rivers and lakes cleaner.

“Trees, these wonderful stewards of the Earth, deserve our appreciation. On April 22, Earth Day, we invite you to spread the love.”

Of course, they are many ways in which trees affect our environment. That’s why these wonderful stewards of the Earth deserve our appreciation. On April 22, Earth Day, we invite you to spread the love.

 

On Earth Day we’re giving hundreds of trees away to over 10 schools throughout the Twin Cities. If you’re the parent of a child getting a tree, plant it with them and make it an event. Post a picture on Facebook or tweet about it to your friends and family. Your tree will love all the attention.

The trees are ready to meet their new families this Earth Day. Make them feel welcome. They’ve got a lot of work to do!

For more information on the many ways in which trees affect our urban environments, check out this excellent video.

Planting Roots Online

Welcome to our new website!

Thank you for being here. We hope the new website makes it easier for you to connect with us and find out what’s happening at Neighborhood Forest.

You might be familiar with us already. You might be a school coordinator, the parent of a child who received a free tree at school, or one of our green sponsors — if so, we’d like to thank you. It’s your commitment to Neighborhood Forest that’s helped us give more free trees to more schoolchildren each year. Your encouragement, your suggestions and your continuing support have been invaluable. Neighborhood Forest couldn’t have gotten this far without you.

In 2013, we plan to build on our momentum. The new website will play a pivotal role in connecting us to more schools, children, parents, and green sponsors in the Twin Cities and beyond.

If you are new to Neighborhood Forest, consider this an invitation to be part of our online community. Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or drop us a line. Let us know your thoughts.

“You might be a school coordinator, the parent of a child who received a free tree at school, or one of our green sponsors — if so, we’d like to thank you.”

If your thoughts are you’d like more people to know what we’re doing, feel free to pass a friendly word along, or better yet, become a school coordinator or even a sponsor. Tell a friend, speak to your child’s teacher, your next-door neighbor, your boss, the school around the corner, the green business down the block, or even that progressive uncle who can’t stop talking about his plug-in hybrid, about our mission to give away free trees to kids every Earth Day.

What if you know people who live outside the Twin Cities or Minnesota? No worries. They’re welcome here too. We plan to expand beyond our state borders in the future, so we may be in their neighborhood soon.

So thank you again, all of you, new friends and old, for your interest in Neighborhood Forest.

We hope you stick around for this exciting journey. Together, we’ll be able to get more small trees into the little hands of more beautiful children.