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Connect Personally - Benefit Globally - Support A Cause

The Gifted Tree has always helped the earth by planting trees worldwide to counteract the devastating effects of forest fires and climate change, but we have added a new wrinkle. Your gift tree will still help you connect with someone special to you and give the world a gift too, but now you can also help support a cause.

Announcing Our Trees for a Cause Planting Program

The Gifted Tree announces our Trees for a Cause win-win-win partnership program. Win 1 = Connect on a personal level with someone important to you and show them you care. Win 2 = By planting a tree, you are helping the earth, counteracting the devastating effects of forest fires and climate change. Win 3 = Directly help the hard work of a worthwhile cause by planting your gift tree in a charity-specific “Giving Grove,” located in a U.S. National Forest. When you choose our Trees for a Cause program, The Gifted Tree will donate 10% of the purchase price to that organization to help fund their valuable programs.

Our Military Kids Logo - Empowering Military Kids

Our Military Kids Partnership

Our first partnership is with Our Military Kids and their “Giving Grove” is called the Empower Tree Grove and is located in a U.S. National Forest. Since 2004, Our Military Kids empowers military kids by funding sports, arts, and other enrichment activities when their parents are deployed overseas with the National Guard or Reserves or recovering from severe injuries sustained in a post-9/11 overseas mission.

National Guard and Reserve families sometimes have trouble accessing support services from military installations. During deployments, these families may lose income when their military member leaves a civilian job to accept a military position overseas. The loss of income and lack of resources can create gaps that are hard on families. Our Military Kids fills these gaps with a simple grant program that pays for their children’s activities.

Wheel-chair bound amputee military father helping his daughter on the playgroundWhen military members are injured in service to our country, their families face many changes. They may have to move closer to medical care or change their comfortable routines. Children must often take a back seat while parents deal with more pressing issues related to medical care, financial strains, and other adult responsibilities. Our Military Kids grants ease the financial strain on parents while giving their children the chance to participate in positive activities that will help them laugh, grow, and feel connected to the community.

The History of Our Military Kids

In early 2004, Our Military Kids started small, with a pilot program focused on a National Guard unit from Winchester, Va. The pilot program was extremely successful, and they expanded to help all deployed Reserve and National Guard families living throughout Virginia. Air Force father holding his daughter

Calls from deploying soldiers were sometimes heartbreaking. Feeling the need to help more children cope with the challenges brought on by lengthy separations, Our Military Kids began covering families living in Maryland, the District of Columbia and, eventually, the entire United States.

In 2008, Our Military Kids expanded its program once again, this time to include children of service members and veterans from all branches of service who were severely injured in post-9/11 combat operations, and whose families were struggling to deal with financial and emotional hardships.

Today, Our Military Kids is a national organization. Funded entirely by private donors, foundations and corporate sponsors. Since its inception, the group has provided more than 67,000 grants to military families across the country, allowing military kids the opportunity to participate in sports, arts and other activities while their parents are deployed or recovering from severe injuries sustained in combat. Participation in these activities helps military children cope with stress and build self-confidence while their parents are recovering or serving overseas.

4-Star Rating

While The Gifted Tree is so impressed with the mission of Our Military Kids, we are also attracted to the group’s financial acumen and transparency.  Our Military Kids has earned the highest possible 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator, the leading charity watchdog organization. Because of the group’s careful money management, a high percentage of donation dollars is going directly to fund kids’ grants, something that is important to The Gifted Tree and guided its decision to include the organization in our Trees for a Cause program.Two Our Military Kids children proudly holding their grant award certificates

How It Works

If you want to plant a tree in memory of, in celebration of or in honor of someone close to you and make a difference in a child’s life, consider our Trees for a Cause option. For Our Military Kids, help their worthwhile cause by planting in their Empower Tree Grove located in a U.S. National Forest. The exact location will be noted on the tree planting certificate. Choose from any of our certificate presentation options and select “Trees for a Cause – Our Military Kids” in the Tree Planting location in the drop down on the order page. Ten percent (10%) of the purchase price of your gift tree will be donated to the organization to directly help fund its programs, which ease stress for military kids by paying for participation in sports, fine arts, & tutoring programs while their parents are serving their country overseas or recovering from battle wounds.

Choose Trees for a Cause and help support Our Military Kids. Learn more or plant your tree by clicking here.

Madagascar Landscape

No matter where you plant, realize you are making a difference 

You have decided to plant a gift tree – either a memorial tree planted in memory of a loved one (human or pet), or in someone’s name to celebrate one of life’s milestones, perhaps a birthday, anniversary or birth. The Gifted Tree plants gift trees in over 20 countries around the world, the only memorial tree planting company to do so. Now you must decide where you would like to plant the tree. No matter which location you choose, or if you can’t decide and just want to have us plant the gift tree in the area of most need, realize that you are making a monumental difference for the earth and opening a new doorway to the world for future generations.

Beyond forest fires and climate change

Typically, most of us think that our gift tree should be planted to reforest areas that have been devastated by forest fire or negatively affected by climate change. While these are two good and valid reasons for deciding where to plant, there is another important benefit that can be gained by planting your memorial tree in certain locations around the globe; socio-economic gain.

Planting gift trees make a difference in people's lives

Spending the day collecting firewood

This benefit can be difficult to grasp, mainly because in our first world country, we do not experience the difficulties of everyday life encountered by third world communities. A significant amount of deforestation, particularly in African and Asian nations, occur because the population needs the wood just to cook their meals. The sad part is, as time goes on and the wood sources move farther away from homes, citizens, particularly women and children, need to travel miles everyday just to collect firewood to cook that evening’s dinner. The better part of the day is spent gathering wood with little or no time left to work on jobs that would lead to economic gain.

No problem, forest resources are unlimited, Not

The alarming rate of deforestation in these areas is also due to the economic value of the forest, specifically timber products. Deforestation is so serious that individuals have cut down large trees that have been standing for decades for little or no reason at all. Many believe the forest is meant to be exploited or cut down to meet their needs. Bush burning and unsustainable logging are very widespread, and many believe forest resources are unlimited, and that what they take from the forest is too minimal to make a difference.

Beyond planting trees, educating

The gift tree planting projects The Gifted Tree is involved in Africa and Asia have multiple socio-economic benefits. Not only are we planting trees in these regions, but farmers are also being trained in best tree planting methods, nursery preparation, farm conservation and finance, and irrigation management. Most of these individuals have no prior knowledge of proper land management techniques, but this training will be a significant factor in the fight against deforestation. They also learned methods and techniques to protect trees to withstand local climatic conditions and thus help to ensure the newly planted trees’ long-term survival.Planting gift trees changes lives, forever

 

Planting trees and changing lives, forever

Your planting of a gift tree in these developing nations will include a variety of fruit and nut-bearing trees such as fig, quince, pomegranate, apple, lemon, olive, apricot, orange, pear, and walnut. This social forestry education, coupled with an increase in technology literacy, provides sustenance for the villagers, as well as allowing for job growth in the region, and the ability to earn a sustainable income by selling excess fruit and nuts in the local markets.

By choosing to plant your gift tree in an African or Asian nation, you give families the ability to transition from unsustainable farming techniques to a forest garden system. Your memorial tree not only sustains and empowers the citizens of these regions, but also changes their lives forever.

 

Lone tree in a field with magnificent sunset

Last week was World Environment Day, the United Nations’ day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year’s theme was Air Pollution and asking the world to come together to beat it. Unarguably, air pollution is a complex matter, but also unarguably, the planting of trees is definitely a step in the right direction for improving the quality of the air that we all breathe.

The relationship between trees and air pollution is a complicated one, but with half a football field of forest destroyed every second, we need to understand the impact the loss of trees will have on the quality of our air, and how planting trees will benefit all of us.

Trying to keep this as simple as possible, heat from the earth is trapped in the atmosphere due to high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases that prohibit it from releasing the heat into space. This creates a phenomenon known today as the “greenhouse effect.” Trees help by removing CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis to form carbohydrates that are used in plant structure/function and return oxygen back into the atmosphere as a byproduct. Roughly half of the greenhouse effect is caused by CO2. Therefore, trees act as carbon sinks, alleviating the greenhouse effect.Trees in a Forest

In urban areas, trees also reduce the greenhouse effect by shading houses and office buildings. This reduces the need for air conditioning by up to 30 percent which in turn reduces the amount of fossil fuels burned to produce electricity. The combination of CO2 removal from the atmosphere, carbon storage in wood and the cooling effect makes trees extremely efficient tools in fighting the greenhouse effect and thus, air pollution.

Trees also remove gaseous air pollution by uptake via leaf stomata or simply, the leaf pores.  Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and intercept airborne particulates (major health hazards in air pollution) out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. Trees along urban roadways can reduce the presence of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere within a few hundred yards of the roadside verge. All of this scientific jargon basically means that trees reduce the concentration of bad stuff in the air that we breathe

Planting trees remains one of the most cost-effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. If every American family planted one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion pounds annually. This equates to almost 5 percent of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year.

Taken together, there is no doubt that trees provide a net positive benefit to the environment, which is why it is almost uniformly true that neighborhoods with lots of trees command greater housing values than Runner in a tree lined urban parkwaythose without. You can help by planting memorial gift trees and gift trees celebrating milestone events for people or pets. The Gifted Tree makes it easy to do, and with our innovative and amazing presentation certificates, it will show you care, as well as make a difference.  Plant your gift tree to help forests devastated by fire or climate change, and improve the quality of the air we breathe!

One question we get at The Gifted Tree is “Why plant again after a forest fire, aren’t you just setting the scenario for another forest fire?” As with most issues in life, there are two sides to the story. Since here at The Gifted Tree we plant gift trees, I will lean toward the “plant again” side.

Wildfire is a necessary and important part of a natural landscape, but it is undeniable that some wildfires have harsh and negative impacts on communities, water resources, outdoor recreation resources, and fish and wildlife habitat. In these cases, post-fire restoration can be crucial to prevent further damage and to spur recovery. Reforestation is important in creating wildlife habitat, decreasing soil erosion, encouraging snow retention, sequestering carbon, providing clean air and water, and reestablishing native tree species and future seed sources.

Damage from some wildfires doesn’t always stop once the flames are suppressed and the smoke clears, and is sometimes more devastating than the fire itself. Loss of vegetation as a result of an intensely burning large fire can expose soil to erosion. We have all read about the recent fires in California followed by torrential rains creating massive and deadly mud slides.

The sight of blackened earth after a fire is hard to take, but in this plight, patience is a virtue. While every fire situation is different, post-fire restoration is a process that can take years. Sometimes the trees can grow back on their own – the blackened trees lining the ground hide what is going on their underside ─ sometimes there is new growth which can spawn new trees as well as provide a habitat for wildlife such as birds. Also. while the temperatures at surface level can be very high, destroying all vegetation, just below the surface, the temperatures can be quite normal. Thus, in certain situations, root systems remain intact and will regenerate on their own.

In other situations, fires burn with such intensity that no seed source remains, and humans need to be the catalyst. In these situations, the reforestation action starts with a seed, literally. The forest service is in the business of constantly collecting seeds from different elevations and different species of trees from forests all over the country. These seeds are carefully labeled so that when they are needed, they are replanted in the exact area where, or very near to where, they were harvested. In fact, in addition be being geographically replanted in the same area, seeds are planted at the same elevation within 700 feet from where they were collected. That means a Ponderosa Pine seed collected in Colorado would not be planted in Idaho. Or one collected in Northern Colorado would not be replanted in Southern Colorado. If collected and handled properly, these seeds can be viable for 30 to 40 years.

The Gifted Tree works with partners who focus on planting where the greatest reforestation needs exist, in areas impacted by large-scale fires or insects and disease where there is virtually no probability the area will reforest on its own. In those cases, seeds are ordered from the seed bank nursery and the nursery workers find the ones collected from the area when the devastation occurred.

Once the seeds are carefully inspected and the duds discarded, they are planted in holes made in large Styrofoam blocks. Those blocks lay end-to-end in the glass greenhouse, where workers nurse them along until the next viable planting season. That means the seedlings will not be ready to plant until at least one year after a fire. At the same time, Forest Service experts prepare the burned area and make sure it is safe for the workers and the soil is ready for planting.

At precisely the right moment, usually late spring, or early summer, the baby trees are shipped back to the forest for planting. They have a very high survival rate because they are genetically ready for the climate, altitude and soil conditions of the area.

Reforestation is a scientifically honed process, a picture that takes a while to complete. The Gifted Tree works with agencies that not only plant your gift tree where it has the best chance for growth but revisit the planting areas for several years after to ensure long-term viability. So whether the gift tree is planted in memory of a lost loved one, or to celebrate a happy life event, know that a lot of scientific thought went into the planting ensuring that your gift tree will have a lasting impact and be a gift to the earth as well.  Discover more on the three steps to planting a gift tree at https://www.thegiftedtree.com/build-your-gift-in-three-easy-steps/.

Yours treely,

Doug