So cool! Dedic8 designers have created a TREEmendous clothing line and $8 from every item sold will be donated back to The ChariTREE Foundation and Love Trees to help put a tree in the hands of children around the world. They are LIMITED EDITION and will only be available until March 14: http://www.dediceight.com/how-to-help/
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First Nations people revere the arbutus. According to a Straits Salish legend, the survivors of a great flood tied their canoe to an arbutus atop Mount Newton near Sidney. I’ve heard different versions, some say they did not cut down the arbutus and that’s why the arbutus saved them and some say to this day, as a mark of gratitude, the Saanich do not use arbutus as firewood.
I used a bit of this legend in this poem that I had edited by Bernice Lever and submitted to the Bowen Island Arts Council for the Bowen Island Anthology.
Above Finnistre Island Cove
for more than three-hundred years
a lone arbutus stands upon a bluff.
Washed up and out,
her long limbs scarred deep
and peeling out to sea.
Bent by the unrelenting Squamish winds
and braced with gratitude by Gambier to the north
ever green and ever giving,
with a noble determination
to embrace those
who once called Bowen home.
I am because we are
saved by a promise.
When once an ancient people faced dire floods,
the arbutus remembered
and hugged the windswept alpine coast
with awry roots extended like a lifeline to their boats.
Reaching out and reaching up
the arbutus anchored to a mountaintop
to keep them safe – for now.
Arching back and glowing red in the sunset
the Langdale ferry passes by
veiled in fog and fogged in veils,
my abiding arbutus calls me home.
Its been years since I stood there
in her shade upon the hill,
looking out to Boyer and beyond,
I hear she stands there still.
How many trees will it take to save us now? I wonder,
and then the breeze blows south and I feel her call
me back – to me.
Best Teacher’s Gifts
It’s nice to give teachers a token of thanks at Christmas – afterall they do so much for our children. Here are a few gifts that anyone can make, buy and/or personalize – even during this super-busy holiday season. I have included some last-minute teacher’s gift ideas too. Can you tell I think teachers are terrific! : )
To view the whole list with links to the gifts visit: http://www.skinnyscoop.com/list/lovetrees/best-teachers-gifts#
The world needs more hummingbird environmentalists
Any effort, however small, helps
by Andrea Koehle Jones
Because I run an environmental charity, people often assume I am a hard core environmentalist, militantly preaching and living green. I’m not. Like most people, I sometimes feel overwhelmed thinking about all the problems in the world, and sometimes get bogged down by environmental doom and gloom. After all, it can be hard to see what one person or family can really do to help. Still, I firmly believe that doing one small thing today can make a difference.
I first heard the hummingbird fable from Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai. It’s a beautiful story about a massive forest fire and the courageous efforts of a tiny hummingbird.
All the animals in the forest watched a huge forest fire getting bigger and bigger. They felt so overwhelmed and powerless, except for a little hummingbird. It said, “I’m going to do something about the fire.”
The little hummingbird flew to the closest stream, scooped-up a drop of water and put it on the huge fire. Then she went back to the stream and did it again. She kept going back, again and again and again. All the other animals watched, some tried to discourage the hummingbird with comments like, “Don’t bother, you are too little, your wings will burn, your beak is too tiny, it’s only a drop of water, you can’t put out this fire.”
And as the animals stood around disparaging the little bird’s efforts, the hummingbird noticed how hopeless and forlorn they looked. Then an elephant shouted out to the hummingbird in a mocking voice, “What do you think you are doing?” And the hummingbird, without wasting time or losing a beat, looked back and said, “I am doing the best I can.”
The collective impact of one small thing
It’s not hard to be a hummingbird environmentalist. This week for example I thought, “What’s one thing I can I do differently? “ I decided to take the kids to the store but instead of driving, as we usually do, we bicycled. At first I didn’t feel like it, but we ended-up having a really great time.
Forty percent of all trips are made within two miles of home. If individuals and families choose to bike or walk to work, or to make fewer shopping trips each week, they could really help the planet (and their wallet). If American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of a car, they would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas. At $4 per gallon, total savings would be $7.3 billion a year (Source: The Sierra Club, Pedaling to Prosperity). And if people all over the world chose to leave the car at home and walk or bike just once a week, the impact would be even more powerful.
Become a Hummingbord Environmentalist
For me, the key to being a Hummingbird Environmentalist is not immersing oneself in environmental politics. It is about having an open heart, thinking beyond yourself, and being willing to try something new – even fun – once in a while. We can all do one thing better. Here are three ideas that I hope get you inspired.
· Incorporate public transit into your next family outing – if your kids are like mine, they will love the chance to take the bus or train
· Make a hummingbird craft with your kids – it’s a great way to share the hummingbird fable and show them that anyone, no-matter how small, can help make the world a better place: http://www.love-trees.com/hummingbird-tree-craft/
· Plant a tree: Spend $5 to have a tree given to a child through the Love Trees children’s tree planting and environmental education program
My latest writing and photography assignment was a car review of the Chevrolet Equinox LTZ that took me up the Sea to Sky Highway and back in June. Read all about it. http://bit.ly/Qxin9h
Special thanks to Chevrolet Canada and the super-talented MacLaren McCann team I had the honour of working with under the direction of Pearce Bannon.
Canadian Camping Association camps are partnering with The ChariTREE Foundation again this year. This month, ChariTREE received 23,495 requests for seedlings for children at camps across Canada.
Kids can plant their Wish Tree and make a wish for the planet – or anything. Giving children a tree of their own to plant teaches responsibility and offers kids the opportunity to connect with nature. Studies show the more time kids spend outside, the more their levels of stress drop and their confidence soars to new levels.
ChariTREE sent another 5,745 school children seedlings in April.
ChariTREE has also recently returned from Zambia where 5,000 children will receive a fruit or nut tree. ChariTREE partnered with African Community Project on this project. Zambia is among the top 10 countries in the world with the highest annual deforestation rate.
The Wish Trees and Summit’s Sock Garden are now both available on the Sony Reader Store: http://ebookstore.sony.com/author/andrea-koehle-jones_344289
Theses 100% tree-free children’s books are available around the world and a portion of profits supports Love Trees children’s tree projects around the world!
Here’s a fun free printable from Chickabug inspired by Love Trees that will get your kids even more excited to plant a tree! This is a fun activity for teachers and parents. Host a tree party on Earth Day – or any day, afterall, every day is Earth Day.
Download this super-sweet tree planting kit for kids by Heather of Chickabug, print it on recycled card stock, buy a tree (or many trees) at your local nursery, plant trees with your child or lots of kids! After you can celebrate with these adorable treeplanting cupcakes.
With TREEmendous thanks to Chickabug!
Special thanks to Shelly of HowDoesShe for these gorgeous photos and Noah and his pal Brooks for their super-great treeplanting project at Grandma’s. And mimicafe Union for the adorable cupcake idea. So sweet!