We have some very exciting new developments to share as we enter our 12th annual free tree giveaway.
I know it has been a tough and unfathomable 12 months for the entire world. A couple of years ago, even before all the craziness, we thought about calling it quits. Things were hard. Things were not moving as we expected. We wondered if our efforts were really making a difference.
Then, we started to get photos like this:
And, we were like, “we can’t give up now!”
I am so glad we didn’t give up because something wonderful and amazing is happening – right now.
In the past few weeks, we have experienced an incredible, unprecedented, and exhilarating surge of interest in our program, thanks to a small and unassuming library in Michigan!
In the first 11 years of our program, we grew from serving 4 schools in Minneapolis to 150 schools in 14 states – about 10-15 new schools per year. It was a fairly slow and steady growth over one decade.
In the past few weeks, we have nearly tripled – adding 250 new institutions – now serving over 400 organizations in 30 states!!
Here’s how it happened…
Three weeks ago, Tamarack District Library in Lakeview, Michigan got wind of our program and asked if they could also participate – they wanted to give trees to the kids they serve.
We had never had a request like this before and even though it was out of the ordinary, we thought, why not? What difference does it make whether we reach kids through schools or libraries? They signed up and became the first library in the nation to offer trees to kids via Neighborhood Forest. They were super excited about this and shared our program with a coop of libraries that they are a part of. Within a day or so, we had 5 libraries signed up in Michigan.
Then, they shared our program in a Library Programming group on Facebook and we essentially went viral – doubling the number of organizations we were serving – in just a few days!
Holy tree roots!
Below is the growing list of libraries, schools, and youth groups that have signed up since Tamarack changed the course of our destiny!
(By the way, we’ve given out Tamarack trees in the past, so this is just so fitting!)
It was all very unexpected, thrilling, and a bit overwhelming. This was the moment we had been waiting for all these years. The moment when people would be clamoring from all over to give trees to kids.
We now have the demand for trees we’ve been hoping for and we need to meet it with adequate fundraising. Obviously, this was a growth spurt we hadn’t really planned for.
Consider for a moment, that the average American family creates an annual carbon footprint that is equivalent to what 75 trees sequester in their lifetime. So, for about a dollar a day, Neighborhood Forest can offset a family’s carbon footprint by planting trees through the hands of children – now, tens of thousands of children!
Our sponsorship levels are as follows:
One Child $5 – 1 free tree for a child
Carbon Neutral Individual $75 – 1 year carbon neutrality for one person (15 free trees) Carbon Neutral Family $375 – 1 year carbon neutrality for your family (75 free trees)
Maple $950 – 1 school / library (200 free trees) Oak $2,500 – 3 schools / libraries (500 free trees) Sequoia $4,950 – 8 schools / libraries (1,000 free trees)
New schools, libraries, and youth groups that have joined Neighborhood Forest in the past three weeks!
Tamarack District Library, Lakeview, MI Diamond Path International School, Apple Valley Darby Creek, Hilliard, OH Lakeview Elementary, Lakeview MI Big Rapids Community Library, Big Rapids MI Bellaire Public Library, Bellaire MI Manistee County Library, Manistee, MI Leelanau Township Library, Northport MI JFK Elementary, Kingsport, TN Wildflower Early Learning Center, Savage MN Keystone Elementary, LaGrange, OH Bridge Prepatory Charter School, Staten Island, NY White Cloud Community Library, White Cloud, MI PS 380 John Wayne Elementary, Brooklyn, NY PS 35 Clove Valley, Staten Island, NY Zane North School, Collingswood NJ BSA Pack 2 Westerleigh (Scouts), Staten Island, NY Endeavor Library, Montello WI Darlington Library, Darlington, SC Beacon Falls Public Library, Beacon Falls CT Normandale Elementary School, Edina Keene Public Library, Keene New Hampshire Knox Public Library, Knox PA Philmont Public Library, Philmont, NY Ashby Free Public Library, Ashby MA Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Library, Fort Meyer, VA Vestal Public Library, Vestal NY Murrieta Public Library, Murrieta CA DR Evarts Library, Athens, NY Bellevue Public Library, Bellevue, ID Hundred Public Library, Hundred, WV Tom Green County Public Library, San Angelo TX Butler Area Public Library, Butler PA Veterans Memorial Library St. Cloud Branch, St. Cloud, FL Oakland City-Columbia Twp. Public Library, Oakland City, IN Liberty Lake Library, Liberty Lake, WA Star Valley Branch Library, Afton WY Tyler Public Library, Tyler TX Barnwell County Public Library, Barnwell SC Regency Park Branch Library, New Port Richey FL Mitchellville Public Library, Mitchellville IA Porter Memorial Library, Blandford MA Amery Area Public Library, Amery WI Bartholomew County Public Library, Columbus IN Alvah N Belding Memorial Library, Belding MI Brisbane School District, Brisbane CA Elmont Memorial Public Library, Elmont NY Three Oaks Township Public Library, Three Oaks MI Kewaunee Grade School, Kewaunee WI Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria LA Carnegie Library of Homestead, Munhall PA Olive Free LIbrary Association, West Shokan NY Wickliffe Public Library, Wickliffe OH Lebo Branch Library, Lebo KS Kalamazoo Public Library, MI Mercer County Public Library, Harrodsburg KY New River Public Library, Wesley Chapel FL Pike County Public Libraries – Phelps Branch KY Clayton County Morrow Library, Morrow GA Buchanan Elementary School PTA, Murrieta CA Emily Brittain Elementary School, Butler PA Collingswood Middle School, Collingswood NJ Unicoi County Public Library, Erwin TN Tangier Smith Elementary, Mastic Beach NY Ida Public Library, Belvidere IL Leighton Township Library, Wayland MI Hoffman Trails Elementary, Hilliard OH Benson Memorial Library, Titusville PA Anderson-Lee Library, Silver Creek NY Malta Township Public Library, Malta IL Evans City Public Library, Evans City PA Chester Public Library, Chester CT W.G. Rhea Public Library, Paris TN Juniata County Library, Mifflintown PA Cromwell Belden Public Library Glen Ellyn Public Library, Glen Ellyn IL Novel Academy, Lake Elsinore CA Lima Public Library, Lima OH Southside Elementary, Shelbyville KY Cranberry Public Library, Cranberry Township PA Glen Lake Community Library, Empire MI Belen Public Library, Belen NM Brandon Free Public Library, Brandon VT Red Bank Public Library, Red Bank NJ Young Men’s Library Association, Ware MA Pike County Public Library, Pikeville KY Pike County Public Libraries, Phelps KY Cass District Library, Cassopolis MI Butler Catholic School, Butler PA Slippery Rock Community Library, Slippery Rock PA Lincoln County Library, Kemmerer WY Crowne Hill Elementary School, Temecula CA Prospect Community Library, Prospect PA Owensville Carnegie Public Library, Owensville IN Missoula Public Library, Missoula MT Ventress Memorial Library, Marshfield, MA Rock Falls Public Library District, Rock Falls IL Early Learning Connections, Butler PA Chippewa Falls Public Library, Chippewa Falls WI Amazing Grace Worship youth, Sidney KY Saegertown Area Library, Saegertown PA Union Public Library, Union NJ Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines Troop 661, Sartell MN Northland Public Library, Pittsburgh PA Stillwater County Library, Columbus MT Salem Public Library, Salem VA Albert Chapman Elementary School, Powell OH Elkhorn City Elementary, Elkhorn City KY Reed City Area District Library, Reed City MI Middletown Public Library, Middletown RI The Goddard School Beachwood, Beachwood OH CubScouts pack 614, Murrieta CA HIS Kids Christian School, Butler PA Western Elementary School, Centertown KY Verndale Area Christian Academy, Verndale MN Wood Family Home School, Afton WY Taunton Public Library, Taunton MA Plymouth Public Library, Plymouth MA McKinley Memorial Library, Niles OH Carver Memorial Library, Searsport ME Washington Elementary School, Dublin OH Hamilton Public Library, Hamilton NY Riverview Elementary/ Middle School, Grundy VA Central Middle School, Golden IL Slater Public Library, Slater IA Interstate 35 Elementary School, Truro IA Leelanau Montessori Public School Academy, Lake Leelanau MI Girl scout troop 71303 gsmh – Weir KS Carolina International School – Concord NC Lillian C. Schmitt Elementary – Columbus IN Bright Horizons at Tel Hai, Honey Brook PA Pasadena Public Library – Pasadena TX PS 44 Thomas C Brown, Staten Island NY La Barge Branch Library, La Barge WY Warrior Run Middle School – Turbotville PA Sutton County Public Library – Sonora TX Jasper County Public Library Rensselaer Branch, Rensselaer IN Little Dixie Regional Libraries – Moberly MO Geary Elementary Middle School – Left Hand WV Fairview Elementary – Richmond IN Lawrence Memorial Library, Bristol VT Christina’s Daycare, Dixon IL Barrett Elementary, Homestead PA BSA Troop 1907, Houston TX Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library – Opelika AL Lincoln Public Library – Lincoln CA Pasco County Libraries – Hudson FL Land O’Lakes Library – Land O’Lakes FL Centennial Park Library – Holiday FL Columbia County Public Library – Lake City FL South Holiday Library – Holiday FL Navigator Academy of Leadership – Valrico FL Twin Falls Public Library – Twin Falls ID Zion Benton Public Library – Zion IL Girl Scouts Earth Day Event – Quincy IL Evergreen Park Public Library – Evergreen Park IL Peoria Public Library – Peoria IL Edwardsville Public Library – Edwardsville IL Seneca Public Library District – Seneca IL Jasper County Public Library – DeMotte IN South Whitley Community Public Library – South Whitely IN Ligonier Public Library – Ligonier IN Covington Public Library – Covington IN Brook Iroquois Washington Public Library – Brook IN Jasper County Public Library – Wheatfield IN Churdan Public Library – Churdan IA McCreary Public Library – Whitley City KY Weymouth Elementary School – Morrill ME Ames Elementary School – Searsmont ME Washington County Free Library – Hagerstown MD Berkshire Athenaeum – Pittsfield MA Community District Library – Coldwater MI Community District Library – Bancroft MI Community District Library – New Lothrop MI Community District Library – Byron MI Community District Library – Lennon MI Community District Library – Morrice MI Community District Library – Corunna MI Lapeer District Library – Lapeer MI Pearl River County Library System – Picayune MS The Paris Dulaney Memorial Library – Paris MO Paris Elementary – Paris MO Montgomery Co R-II Middle School – Montgomery City MO St. Francis Catholic School – Billings MT Kimball Public Library – Kimball NE Butler Memorial Library – Cambridge NE First Congregational UCC – Albuquerque NM Sidney Memorial Public Library – Sidney NY Cazenovia Public Library – Cazenovia NY Kingston Library – Kingston NY Kent Public Library – Kent Lakes NY Cub Scout Pack 123 – Jamestown NY Phoenicia Elementary School – Phoenicia NY Maxwell Memorial Library – Camillus NY Sharon Hill Daycare and Preschool – Cincinnatti OH North Canton Public Library – North Canton OH Girl Scout Troop #796 of Ohio’s Heartland – Dublin OH Scottish Corners Elementary – Dublin OH Franklin Public Library – Franklin PA Southmoreland Primary Center – Alverton PA Vandergrift Public Library – Vandergrift PA Hollidaysburg Area Public Library – Hollidaysburg PA Troop/Pack 217 – Chicora PA West Mifflin Middle School – West Mifflin PA Chippewa Branch Library – Beaver Falls PA Chicora Elementary School – Chicora PA West Warwick Public Library – West Warwick RI Johnsonville Public Library – Johnsonville SC Dell Rapids Carnegie Public Library – Dell Rapids SD Victoria Public Library – Victoria TX Bent Northrop Memorial Library – Fairfield VT Alburgh Public Library – Alburgh VT Readsboro Community Library – Readsboro VT Denmark Early Childhood Center – Denmark WI Grantsburg Public Library – Grantsburg WI Lakeview Community Library – Random Lake WI Alpine Branch Library – Alpine WY
I hope this message finds you and yours well, safe, and healthy.
It seems that Mother Nature has given us all a big time-out.
Everything has slowed way down, if not shut down completely. People are working remotely. Restaurants are offering take-out only. Sports canceled. Schools closed.
Thousands of health-care workers are on the front lines working to save lives – bless their souls.
Who would have imagined?
50 years of Earth Day is upon us and fortunately, the worldwide pandemic cannot prevent us from planting trees! While some schools have canceled the giveaway in light of the current circumstances, many schools have decided to proceed as planned – finding creative ways to get trees in your hand. Some are combining giveaways with existing lunch programs and / or setting up a pick-up schedule.
We salute the teachers, principals, volunteers, and parents who have found creative ways to keep this program going for its 11th straight year!
And, we honor and respect those schools and leaders who decided to opt-out. No offense taken! In these unusual times, it is most important that we take care of ourselves first and those around us.
Most of the trees will be arriving this week in time for Earth Day (April 22). Distributions will be happening throughout this week and the following. If you have not received any pick-up instructions, please contact us.
Thank you again, school coordinators, teachers, parents, kids, volunteers, and sponsors for your participation in our program and for taking a small but important step in beautifying your community and our world.
Aside from providing nesting for birds and shelter for other animals, white spruces provide food for many kinds of wildlife. Crossbills, evening grosbeaks, and red-breasted nuthatches feed on its seeds. The foliage is eaten by grouse, rabbits, and deer. Red squirrels bite open cones to eat the seeds, and they delight upon young, tender spruce shoots.
When Jacques Cartier sailed up the broad St. Lawrence River in 1535, he became the first European to see North America’s white spruces. As he laid claim to the lands he beheld, he proclaimed them to be “as beautiful…as one could wish for.” The trees, he said, were “the finest trees in the world.”
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.)
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!
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!
“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…”
“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?”
“Wrong, sir. I increase property values too.”
“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.”
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.