Neighborhood Forest Partners with Futurist Dana Klisanin for Earth Day 2024

February 12th, 2024

Collaboration Inspires Young Climate Activists Through Trees and Books

In honor of Earth Day 2024, Neighborhood Forest joins with acclaimed author and futurist Dana Klisanin to engage and inspire young climate activists.

Every Earth Day, Neighborhood Forest gives free trees to kids through schools, libraries, and youth organizations that register with the program. The nonprofit has even pinned a tree at every location where a child in their program has planted a tree over the past ten years.

This month, when parents and guardians sign their child up for a free tree, they will have the opportunity to purchase additional educational enrichment items, including Dr. Klisanin’s book Future Hack, the captivating first installment of “The Chronicles of G.A.I.A.” series. The highly acclaimed novel emboldens middle-grade students to embrace a growth mindset in the face of crises such as climate change. Every book purchased will fund a tree for a child in the Neighborhood Forest program.

“We are thrilled about our collaboration with Dana and Future Hack to promote our shared mission of inspiring youth environmentalism,” says Vikas Narula, cofounder and CEO of Neighborhood Forest.

Dr. Klisanin adds, “I am equally excited to champion our future generation by joining hands with Neighborhood Forest to support their initiative to provide children with trees and books – immersive real-world educational tools to fuel their minds and bodies.”

About Neighborhood Forest:
Founded in 2010 by Vikas Narula and his wife, Priya Narula, Neighborhood Forest traces its roots back to Vikas’ college days in the early 1990s at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa. Introduced to a free tree project by David Kidd, Vikas, and his college friends adopted the program, distributing tens of thousands of trees to school children in southeast Iowa.

After relocating to Minneapolis, Vikas reignited his passion for giving trees to schoolchildren when his first son entered kindergarten, leading to the establishment of Neighborhood Forest. Starting with four schools in Minneapolis, the initiative has expanded to encompass over 1,500 schools, libraries, and youth groups in all 50 states across the United States and 5 provinces in Canada.

Every Earth Day, Neighborhood Forest distributes free trees to students nationwide, aiming to extend its reach to every child in North America and, ultimately, worldwide.

They have given over 100,000 kids their very own tree since 2021 and are aiming to reach 1 million children in the next few years.

With new institutions registering with the program every day, raising support for Neighborhood Forest through the current campaign is vital. For additional details, visit www.neighborhoodforest.org or contact info@neighborhoodforest.org.

About Dana Klisanin:
Featured in Forbes as one of the world’s top female futurists, Dana’s multifaceted career spans pioneering work in conscious media and global environmental advocacy. As CEO of Evolutionary Guidance Media and founder of ReWilding: Lab, she advocates for ‘rewilding the human psyche’ to improve environmental and human well-being. Her influential work, advising governments, corporations, and NGOs, includes award-winning research.

Stanford University recently published her theoretical research on resilience and the antifragility mindset in Intersections, Reinforcements, Cascades: Proceedings of the 2023 Stanford Existential Risks Conference.

About Future Hack (Chronicles of G.A.I.A. series):
Dr. Dana Klisanin introduces Future Hack, the inaugural book in the “Chronicles of G.A.I.A.” series published by Genius Cat Books. With a mission to inspire young climate activists and immerse them in the world of anticipatory thinking, the series speaks to environmental activism, education, and empowering the next generation. The kid heroes in this innovative series are recruited by the Global Anticipatory Intelligence Agency (aka: G.A.I.A.) to work on behalf of our fragile planet.

Donor Spotlight – The Uldrich Family

Why We Contribute to Neighborhood Forest: Planting Seeds of a Better Tomorrow

The Uldrich family, of Minneapolis, has a deep-rooted love for trees (pun intended). It’s a love that goes beyond themselves and into a hope of a better future for generations to come. We asked Jack Uldrich, a well-recognized global futurist, speaker, and author, “Why does your family give to Neighborhood Forest?”  His response was, “The short, simple answer is that our family loves trees. (As the photos below attest.) At a deeper level, however, our love of trees transcends time.”

A Question that Touched Their Hearts

The Uldrich family’s story begins with a question posed by the renowned Jonas Salk, the developer of one of the first polio vaccines: “Are we being good ancestors?” This question struck a chord deep within their hearts, leading them to contemplate their legacy and the impact they were leaving on the planet.

Their honest reflection yielded a qualified “yes,” recognizing their efforts to “walk as lightly as possible upon the Earth” but acknowledging that we should, could, and must be doing more.

From Acorns to Oak Trees

Three years ago, the Uldrich family embarked on a journey to plant trees. It started with collecting acorns in late summer and germinating them over the winter in their basement refrigerator. They nurtured the oak saplings through spring and summer, preparing them for a new home in the fall, where they would be safe from threats like squirrels and deer.

Reestablishing an Oak Savannah

Two years ago they began visiting Jack’s alma mater, St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota for few days every spring to plant Oak trees in an effort to reestablish an Oak savannah on the campus. This act serves a dual purpose: leaving a lasting physical legacy for future generations and mitigating, in a small way, the ravishing effects of climate change.

Joining Neighborhood Forest

Then, last year, the Uldrich family learned about Neighborhood Forest and the organization’s dedication to planting trees through the hands of children. They were thrilled to become sustaining members wanting to amplify their tree planting efforts and recognizing that more needed to be done especially due their family’s carbon footprint, which is larger than average due to Jack’s business travels. By supporting Neighborhood Forest, they found a way to help offset their carbon emissions and expand their tree planting efforts.

Jack shared, “Still, we know we must do even more if future generations are to have any hope of a better future, and we are eager to help Neighborhood Forest grow into a thriving organization that spans all of North America–and beyond.”

Living by a Beautiful Proverb

The Uldrich family’s love for trees and their dedication to planting them is beautifully encapsulated by an ancient Greek proverb: “Societies thrive when old people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.”

In short, we love Neighborhood Forest because it is living this proverb and, in the process, making the world a better place today and for future generations.”

A Call to Action

The Uldrich family’s story is an inspiring example of how one family’s love for trees can lead to meaningful change. They invite you to join them in supporting Neighborhood Forest or even becoming sustaining members. In closing, Jack shared one last quote that their family loves and aims to live by, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years. The next best time is today.”

Jack, Cindy, Meghan and Sean Uldrich

Minneapolis, Minnesota

2023 Annual Impact Report

We are so thrilled to share our impact, progress, and appreciation with you in our 2023 Annual Impact Report!

Neighborhood Forest Recognized as Top Tree Planting Charity

Neighborhood Forest has been recognized as a top tree-planting charity by Impactful Ninja – a leading influencer and content creator centered around sustainable living and climate action.

Neighborhood Forest has been recognized as a distinguished tree-planting charity as well as a leader in environmental education.

We are honored and touched to be named alongside many other great organizations doing important work in the world, including Living Lands and Waters, The Jane Goodall Institute, and The International Tree Foundation.

We know and believe that this recognition will continue to help us reach more children as we spread joy, beauty, and goodness through tree planting and youth engagement.

Thank you, Impactful Ninja!!

Changemaker Shoutout! – Levi and Elizabeth

Levi Tracey (4th grade) and Elizabeth Sayler (3rd grade) are two students at Avon Montessori Academy in Avon, Ohio. Together they worked to plan and execute a bake sale raising over $700 dollars to donate to Neighborhood Forest! Julie Felder, Head of the School, interviewed these two students about their wonderful efforts. See their responses below!

 

WHY DID YOU WANT TO DO A FUNDRAISER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD FOREST?

Levi: It wasn’t always going to be for Neighborhood Forest. At first it was to buy trees and plant them. I found out about Neighborhood Forest through our local library and we did research about them and went on their website. We liked the organization and they have a good mission to get children trees.

Elizabeth: Because we were driving on a field trip and I was sitting with Levi. We saw a lot of garbage outside. And we thought it would be good to do a fundraiser to save the earth because there is a lot of litter and garbage outside.

WHY ARE TREES/THE ENVIRONMENT IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Levi: I like nature, it’s fun to be outside. And I want it to last longer.

Elizabeth: So that we can enjoy being outside instead of being inside. Climbing trees and being outside on nice days is so fun.

WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOUR FUNDRAISING EFFORTS?

Levi: That we were able to get 150 trees to people through the organization. That’s a lot of trees for a lot of kids – it’s gonna be a lot of trees!

Elizabeth: That we raised a lot of money and a lot of people have supported us.

ANYTHING ELSE TO ADD?

Elizabeth: Thank you to everyone who supported us.

 

Thanks to Levi and Elizabeth’s generosity and hard work, Avon Montessori Academy will be receiving 100 White Pine Trees for all of their students to plant for Earth Week 2023! The rest of their donation will be used to provide more children trees in our program. We are so deeply touched and moved by this unexpected act of love, generosity, and service by these two young changemakers.

“The mission of Avon Montessori Academy is to cultivate and inspire each individual within the school community to excel as lifetime scholars, creative thinkers, and responsible citizens. Members of our school community act with respect, compassion, integrity, and heart. Weaving the Montessori philosophy with a warm and charming environment, we place emphasis on whole child development, peace education, and care of the Earth.”

2023 Tree Species Details

Click on your State to learn more about your Tree Species! Or use our Downloadable Species Guide (Best for Mobile)

 

We aim to provide native trees in all of the areas we serve and a diversity of trees each year.

Click here to learn more about why Native Trees are so important!

 

Coordinator Program Guide – Guidelines & FAQs

Hello Coordinators!

Please click through our Coordinator Program Guide below to learn more about our program and answer some commonly asked questions.

Thank you for helping us spread joy, beauty, and goodness!

Parent FAQs

Click here for a downloadable version of the Parent FAQs

What kind of tree will we be getting?

      • Neighborhood Forest aims to provide native trees in all the regions we serve. Last year we gave away 11 different species. We tend to provide species on a state-by-state basis and like to provide different species each year to provide variety and diversity of trees.

When will my tree be arriving and will it be shipped directly to my address?

      • We aim to have the trees arrive to your school, library, or youth group leader in time for Earth Day. If you are ordering your free tree from your child’s school, your child should bring the tree home when it is distributed at their school around Earth Day (April 22).
      • If you are ordering your tree through your library, you will need to pick up your tree from your library when it arrives. You are responsible for contacting your library and arranging for the pick up of your tree around Earth Day.
      • While the library should be contacting you about pick up details, we encourage you to be proactive. If you are ordering your tree through a scout group, we encourage you to contact the scout leader about pick up details around Earth Day.

How do I care for my tree to ensure that it grows and thrives?

      • We encourage you to walk through this tree planting guide for best practices on caring for your tree.

What if I don’t have a yard or place to plant my tree? Can I plant my tree in a pot and leave it indoors?

    • Ideally, you want to plant your tree in the ground, outside, in a permanent location where you can watch and care for its growth. These trees are accustomed to being outside in the elements, so if you do keep it in a pot for a year or two, be sure to keep it outside.
    • We are in the process of developing an alternative indoor plant program for kids that do not have a yard or live in apartments. We hope to make this option available in the near future!
    • In the meantime, if you do not have a yard to plant your tree, we encourage you to plant your tree with a willing friend or family member who has a yard.

How does Neighborhood Forest fund all of these free trees?

How can I donate?

Neighborhood Forest

5244 Zenith Ave South

Minneapolis, MN 55410

    • All donations are tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law and are not an exchange for any goods or services.

How can I offset my carbon footprint through Neighborhood Forest?

      • The average American consumes 7 trees per year in wood and paper products and emits 20 tons of CO2 annually. One tree will sequester 1 ton of CO2 in its lifetime (on average). So, to go carbon neutral via trees, a person has to plant 20 trees for every year they are on the planet. Factoring in estimated tree survival rates and annual wood and paper consumption, we recommend planting 50 trees per year per person to offset an individual’s tree and carbon footprint – thus the 50 trees x $5 = $250 / year or $25 / month membership cost calculation.

How can I get connected?

Updated 7/28/23