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The quarterly newsletter of Trees for the Future

Fall 2009 Vol. XVII, No. 3


What follows is a brief history of TREES, your organization - where we stand, how we got to where we are, and some ideas about where we go from here. We sincerely hope for your thoughts on how we can move forward, help more people, develop even more beneficial projects and better address the very serious threats to the global environment and to peace that we all face today. TREES started as an idea on the barren hillsides of Southeast Asia, then in West Africa, then Central America and beyond. The field technicians, mostly Peace Corps Volunteers, eventually came home. Through their continued efforts, the idea stayed alive, mostly through letters to groups asking for our help, and by way of whatever trips we could afford to project sites overseas. The idea also kept growing among people in our own country. It grew on the premise that the people of these devastated lands, facing the loss of their homes and way of life, the disintegration of their families because of deforestation and its effects, are prepared to make great sacrifices to save themselves and their lands - if we are willing to give them some help.

Which we did, and are still doing today. Working with local technicians who, if anything, have proven even more concerned about the fate of these families, we developed simple but practical projects that people could initiate with the very limited resources they had at hand. That's one thing that made these projects succeed. Another is that they were designed by the people of these participating communities for their benefit. But the main reason was that this was, and remains, truly a people-to-people program supported by you and other socially and environmentally concerned folks here at home, for the benefit not only of people in faraway villages - but for all the rest of us as well. None of this happened overnight. Most of us came to believe that something had to be done

The staff thanks all of you for being part of this fast-growing program. Shown here in front of our Silver Spring office are Grace and Dave Deppner, Ethan Budiansky, Gorav Seth, Jeff Follett, Ryan Murphy, Gabe Buttram, Heather Myszursky, David Tye, Peter Kell, Francis Deppner, and Jeffrey Manuel.

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Johnny Ipil-Seed News is a quarterly newsletter of TREES FOR THE FUTURE, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people of the world’s poorest communities to begin environmentally beneficial, self-help projects. This newsletter is printed using wind energy on recycled paper with soy-based ink and is sent to all supporting members to inform them of recent events, plans, financial matters and how their support is helping people. BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dr. John R. Moore - Chairman, Dr. Peter Falk - Vice Chairman, Mr. Oscar V. Gruspe - Finance Officer, Dave Deppner - President, Mr. Bedru Sultan, Ms. Marilou Herman, Mr. Franz Stuppard, Mr. John Leary - Members, R. Grace Deppner - Recording Secretary (non-voting) ADVISORY COUNCIL Dr. Mizani Kristos - West African Development, Dr. James Brewbaker - University of Hawaii, Mr. William Campbell - Seasoned Energy, Mr. Steve McCrea - Global Climate Change, FL, Dr. Malcolm Novins - George Mason University, Dr. Noel Vietmeyer - The Vetiver Institute, Mr. Sean Griffin - Forestry & GIS Specialist. STAFF Dave Deppner - Founder, Executive Director R. Grace Deppner - Founder, Associate Director Maryann Manuel - Membership Services Jeffrey Manuel - Membership Services Gorav Seth - International Programs Coordinator Josh Bogart - Central America Coordinator Ethan Budiansky - West Africa Coordinator Jeff Follett - South America Coordinator Francis Deppner - Southeast Asia Coordinator David Tye - East Africa Coordinator Heather Muszyinski - Grants Coordinator Gabe Buttram - Business Partner Coordinator Ryan Murphy - Tree Pals Coordinator FIELD TECHNICIANS Jean Bosco - Burundi, Louis Nkembi - Cameroon, Dr. Yigezu Shimeles - Ethiopia, Dr. Pascal Woldomariam - Ethiopia, Guillermo Valle - Honduras, Subramanian Periyasamy - India, Sagapala Gangisetty - India, Manoj Bhatt - India, Donal Perez - Nicaragua, Danny Zabala - Philippines, Omar Ndao - Senegal, Kay Howe Indonesia, Fernanda Peixoto - Brazil, Paulino Damiano - Kenya, Mathius Lukwago - Uganda To receive this newsletter or for more information, contact: TREES FOR THE FUTURE The Loret Miller Ruppe Center for Sustainable Development P.O. Box 7027, Silver Spring, MD 20907 Toll Free: 1-800-643-0001: Ph: 301-565-0630 WWW.PLANT-TREES.ORG

to save these families and their lands. For us, this was our first experience in seeing what happens to people when the land fails and when they have no choice other than living - and sometimes dying - on the streets of the urban slums. None of us had ever before seen entire families living in cardboard boxes on city streets. We'd never understood that entire mountains were purposely set on fire in the desperate hope that somehow this would yield a crop sufficient to keep local families alive for another season. Our idea caught on quickly and we gained a lot of help and attention along the way. In the Philippines, where the most important tree in our program then and now (Leucaena leucocephala) is known as "Ipil-Ipil", as we carried tree seeds to upland villages, the kids there gave us the nickname "Johnny Ipil-Seed", which remains a part of our inspiration even today. There were some true giants helping start new programs back in these early days of what later became an environmental movement around the world. Their participation showed us the way: Dr. Emil Javier of the University of the Philippines showed how quickly degraded land could be restored to productive use by planting deep-rooted leguminous trees. He was helped by Rev. Harold Watson of the Mindanao Rural Health Community who turned ideas into action. Dr. Byan T. Kang of Indonesia did much of the early work on agroforestry systems. Dr. Jim Brubaker of the University of Hawaii, made many of the breed improvements for some of these species and he continues even today as a greatly appreciated member of TREES' Advisory Board, together with Noel Vietmeyer and Mark Dafforn of the National Academy of Sciences who led the way by producing a series of field manuals about what is now called "agroforestry systems", along with vital books about many of the tree species that even today make these systems so successful. Pak Syamsul Arafin of Indonesia brought these ideas to villages across the Islands of East Java where, along the way, he got his Madura Cowboys to plant about 22 million trees across their 60 islands in what was the first major reforestation project we assisted. Much of the reason these cattlemen planted trees came from the work of Lino Liquanan in the Philippines, who showed how cattle can be quickly and effi-

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"Why is he crazy?" "Well, he's a veterinarian but he spends all his time growing trees." "Sounds serious." To put all that in perspective, I went to the Philippines as a livestock consultant, a cowboy: that's what Sec. Tangko wanted. But most cowboys I've met have a less than burning desire to plant trees. What was the matter with this guy in Batangas? On arriving at his office I saw row after row of "poly-bags" in which he was growing tree seedlings-some 66,000 of them I later learned. "What's this about?" I asked. "That's a job I saved just for An early home of our program was in Barasoain you" he said. He went on to explain that the trees Church in the Philippines, behind the “Kalayaan" were to be planted, as soon as the rains arrived, (Independence) Tree. This is where the Philippine on an island nearby called "Maligaya" - at the reDeclaration of Independence was written and quest of the local residents. signed in 1898. Maligaya was actually one of a chain of large ciently fattened without grain, using mostly cane rocks, yellow during the dry season, strung across tops with tree leaves as the main source of pro- Balayan Bay. Some 92 families then living there tein. At about the same time, we had our first con- made their living fishing. Not a very good living tact with Wangari Maathai, who had begun her at that. They wanted something else and thought Women's Green Belt Movement in Kenya. TREES fattening cattle would improve their lives. Truly had the honor of exchanging ideas and supplying their lives could stand some improvement. With the first tree seeds and training materials for the development of her program. At a time when giant corporations around the world were already beginning to tell the big lie that "projects to save the environment only raise taxes and take away jobs," here were dozens of top professionals in their respective fields, people with long experience in both the field and the classroom, people who could walk the walk as well as talk the talk who, every day, were finding new and exciting reasons why well-planned projects to save and restore the environment are actually very attractive investments for the future of every one of us. These early pioneers kept the vision alive.

Maligaya (Means Happy) For Dave Deppner, then a brand new Peace Corps volunteer trying to help develop a cattle industry in the Philippines, it began in late 1972 in a conversation with Arturo Tangko, then Philippine The cattle raised on Maligaya included water buffaMinister of Agriculture: "I'm sending you to Batangas to work with a crazy lo. The idea of simple but comfortable sheds, with forage and water available at all times, allowed man." rapid and efficient growth.

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only thin grass growing out of the rocks, landslides were common - some five or more houses were flattened each year- sometimes with people still inside. The water table was dropping a foot or more every year. The rainy season finally arrived and the seedlings were taken out to the island by pump boats - a lot of trips to move that many seedlings. Maligaya has no beaches: the hills come down to meet the water - and just keep going on down. "Bigla" (surprise) Filipino swimmers call it. Because Deppner is taller than most Filipinos, his job was to stand in the water, chest deep, and pass the seedlings to somebody ashore. Balayan Bay, he soon found, is home to all sorts of sharks and sea-snakes and before long he was asking: "What am I doing here? I don't even like trees!" But the seedlings were all eventually landed, and planted on the steep hillsides with nobody getting bitten by these underwater menaces. That was the first step of Deppner's epiphany. Fortunately, he was frequently sent back to Batangas and able to return to Maligaya to see how things progressed. He learned that in the dry season, among all those yellow rocks, there remains one green one and that is Maligaya. After that first year, there never was another house destroyed by a landslide there. At the same time, the water table slowly leveled out and began to rise again. The cattle raisers were able to make a labor profit

Planting trees to supplement cattle forage caught on early in Indonesia as well. Farmers who raised these “Sapi Madura” (the oldest breed of cattle in the world) planted more than 22 million trees on their 60 islands.

of more than $100 for every head of beef they fattened (even as American ranchers, feeding corn instead of tree leaves to their animals, claimed they lost more than $50 per head - but that's a story in itself). People there also soon discovered that these trees readily coppice (grow back after they are cut) and this fact started a new, and sustainable, wood industry for these families. For Deppner, the greatest benefit from the experience was learning that doing something to better the environment, if it's done wisely and properly, does not cost, does not take away jobs. Instead, it creates income, builds new industries, and gives people jobs. And that's why he's been working at it ever since. He found that the veterinarian wasn't so crazy after all. Instead, his kind of thinking, outside what was then the box, did a lot to make TREES FOR THE FUTURE happen.

The Environment Becomes an Issue: The leaves of the Leucaena tree proved a flavorable and highly nutritious protein supplement. This developed into an important industry and encouraged farmers to plant these “Ipil-Ipil” Trees.

The TREES program began when very few people, even in developing countries where a major disaster was already in progress, had any concern for the environment. It would be a long time before

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Grace Birnsai, head of the Lun Women’s Group in Cameroon upon receiving permission to use this land as a tree nursery, got her 70 families together and, that first day, cleared the land, dug seedbeds and planted over 240,000 tree seeds.

words like "ecology", "carbon footprint" or even "organic" would come into daily use. Certainly nobody called themselves "green" back then. Our own concern was primarily about people. We believe because of that we have succeeded in putting a human face of the worldwide environmental crisis. That is the single biggest reason your program has succeeded and continues to grow today.. Throughout the remainder of the 1970's and into the mid-1980's we continued to assist an ever-increasing number of projects out of our own pockets. And so growth was quite limited. But by the 1980's people in Europe, and even more so in North America, were beginning to understand that something very wrong was happening, that species were disappearing, that a worldwide desert was growing at the rate of about 100,000 acres every day because of destruction of the world's forests and lack of good land management systems. That's when we developed a second premise: That the people of the world's more affluent nations, understanding that their own future is intrinsically tied to that of the people now suffering the effects of a global environment gone wrong, would

willingly share their own bounty, their technical advances, with these less fortunate communities for the mutual benefit of all. With that, our work was incorporated as TREES FOR THE FUTURE, INC. in Maryland and TREES officially opened its doors at the home of Grace and Dave Deppner on April 14, 1989. Funding? There's an old saying that if you want to start a non-profit, plan to starve for the next three years (not right - they should have said five years). But we managed to get a few small grants from very nice people and soon we had two new people (Jeff Cochran and Kammy Kern) starting projects in Nepal and Haiti. By the end of the year we had over 100 members. While all this was happening some major events connected to the global environment were taking place. People were beginning to understand the enormous capacity of our new technologies to make disasters happen. The stone ax had evolved into chain saws and bulldozers. From the jungles of Manaus in Brazil, Chico Mendez did his best to tell the world what was happening to the people of these communities and was shot dead for telling this truth. TV cameras let us see his Amazon being cleared by walls of flame over 150 feet high. Julian Cho, leader of the Maya Communities of Belize, who had strongly opposed the maneuvers of Atlantic Industries LTD to gain claim to the Maya forests, was hacked to death by machetes in front of his home by "person or persons unknown". People were beginning to really understand what "loss of biodiversity" was really all about. It was about then that terms like "global warming" and "carbon emissions" began to enter our lives. TREES was asked to relate our experiences

Life on the Streets is the end of the line for rural families who have seen their land degraded until it will no longer support them. It was in response to the plight of these hundreds of thousands of families that started your TREES Program.

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Slash-and-Burn farming is destroying marginal lands around the world. If farmers can’t buy chemical fertilizer, they burn the land over, hoping to produce a subsistence crop to keep their families fed for another season. The smoke from these fires represents 12% of the total carbon in our atmosphere.

in how restoring tree cover "sequesters" carbon dioxide. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was passed and in 1993 we were invited to be part of the White House Panel on Climate Change where we served until 2001. It was becoming ever more obvious that the environment, the growing energy crisis, and the climate threat are all closely related. To this, TREES continued to insist that the answer to all of these threats lies largely with the people of the Developing World who are, for the most part, living virtually "zero carbon" lives but who are also, desperately, trying to save their lands by bringing back trees

Firewood is the only energy source for over half of all people on earth. A typical family in Nepal spends 41 hours per month collecting the precious wood. In West Africa, the average family pays more for the wood to cook their meals than they did for the food.

The 1991 cyclone that struck Bangladesh was over 160 miles wide. It killed 138,000 people and left over a half million homeless. As global temperatures rise, storms like this become more frequent and much more violent. TREES provided help to plant trees on the threatened high roads—the only shelter for people of the delta lands.

and forests that mitigate carbon the rest of us emit. By then a growing number of Americans had already figured this out. Our organization, and the global program, were growing rapidly.

Then Came Katrina

For the last few days of August, 2005, A hurricane called Katrina tore across Florida and the Caribbean to the City of New Orleans. Following this was Labor Day weekend. We came to work the following Tuesday with phones already ringing, with e-

TREES formed an early association with Peace Corps, providing training, seeds and planning support. Our Agroforestry Training Manual is used by Peace Corps in several countries and has now been translated into 7 languages.

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These women’s associations were able to convince many communities to start planting fastgrowing trees as a sustainable source of firewood. They used these carts to haul water to nurseries in the dry season and to transport seedlings when the rains arrived.

Peace Corps Volunteer John Leary served in Senegal where he developed an agroforestry program which also halted desert encroachment. Now five PCV’s are working to expand his original efforts. Here John is leaning about Jatropha curcas, a bio-fuel.

mails piling up and our website getting more hits than we ever thought possible. People wanted to know: What does TREES do? How does your program work? How can we help? It was over those next few days, we came to understand, that TREES was in the limelight and was on its way to becoming a major organization. In the months that followed our membership nearly tripled and we were starting to gain the attention of the Business C o m m u n i t y. We were able to have more, and more qualified, people in the field starting new projects and to keep earlier projects growing. Your organization was finally in a position to make

long-range plans and develop the larger, more beneficial and cost-effective projects we had long wished were within our capability. The people of North America and Europe had finally come to grips with reality: that there is something happening to our environment and our climate that brings about a storm that can wipe out an American city in one day. And, avoiding the shaky logic of Kyoto and of the major polluters by getting down to basics, they saw that a big part of the answer is simply to bring trees and other vegetation back to the world's denuded, degraded lands, repairing the environmental damage of the past while taking some of the excess carbon out of the global atmosphere. Since then, our technical staff has more than doubled. We are now supporting 43 local technicians around the world, we have met with presidents, ministers and business leaders of the countries we serve, with leaders of other organizations looking for ways we can better coordinate our efforts. More communities than ever before are asking our support - and we're far more able to get it to them.

Loret Miller Ruppe, Director of the US Peace Corps, 1981-1989, lived with her family in nearby Bethesda, Maryland. Our headquarters was dedicated to her because she embodied the spirit and ideals of TREES: “peace through development.”

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rie Mauldin, Cameroon; Pfuong Mai, Senegal; Charles Morgan, Honduras, Ryan Murphy, Peru; Adam Norikane, Senegal; Florence Reed, Panama; Eric Spilde, Ecuador, David Tye, Tanzania, Kerin Vermilya, Cameroon; Richard Waithe, Senegal, Chris Wells, Philippines, Tim Wojtusik, Philippines As our program grew over these years, about 1/3 of our projects have been with Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts. With their help, we have developed technical materials and manuals. Our Agroforestry Training Manual has now been translated into eight languages and has been the primary training manual in several countries for This land is being planted with fast growing trees Peace Corps' Natural Resources Volunteers. which will replenish the degraded soil and protect In 1998, when we bought the building that beit from erosion came our headquarters, it seemed only propTrees and Peace Corps er that we name it as the Loret Miller Ruppe Center for Sustainable Development to honThe program of TREES really grew from our or the late Director of the US Peace Corps for own experiences as Peace Corps or volunteers her years of service in bringing the organizain other organizations serving in many develop- tion to higher levels of achievement. Her husing countries. This has grown over the past 20 band, former Congressman Phil Ruppe gave years as we benefitted from the ideas and efforts the dedication address at our opening ceremony. of many Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, some listed below. All of them have continued to serve About Working with People the people of the Developing World and, along the way, have given us inspiration, new and better We have strongly emphasized, over all these technical ideas and leadership qualities that have years, the importance of knowing what the people built TREES into the organization it has become: of the communities we serve understand as their Joe Anderson, Ecuador, Jorge Betancourt real needs. To illustrate the point, as of this writing (staff) Honduras, Scott Bode, Sierra Leone; Josh one of our partners, in Ethiopia, has 86 donkeys Bogart, Honduras, Damien Bresnan, Philippines; Ethan Budiansky, Senegal; Gabe Buttram, Lesotho; Jeff Cochran, Nepal; Loretta Collins, Panama; Dave Deppner, Philippines; Brian Fitzgerald, Ghana, Jeff Follett, Surinam; Matt Gilbride, Panama; Tim Hoffman, Bolivia, Galen Hull, Malawi, Dale Hutcheson, Cameroon; Christine Hutchinson, Ghana; Kammy Kern, Senegal; Melissa Kolb, Honduras; Heather Laird, Morocco; Chris Landau, Senegal; John Leary, Senegal; Brandy Lellou, Mauritania, CorChildren’s Projects: In many parts of the world, the need for firewood is so severe that children can’t go to school. They spend their days walking the roads looking for a few sticks to cook the family meal. In Vietnam, we started many sustainable firewood projects at local schools.

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being rehabilitated for distribution to local groups, It started a few years back when the local technicians pointed out that the women of these villages were cutting down ancient trees to sell as firewood. Ethiopia had lost about 70% of its forests to nonsustainable logging over the years of the "dirge". From that alone the forests might have slowly recovered except for the ever-increasing pressure for fuel. A major drive of that program has been to plant fast-growing trees that quickly grow back after harvest as a sustainable firewood supply. But rural women were not quickly jumping onto the idea and we began asking why. The answer we got was: "Look - I spend two days chopping down a tree, carrying as much as I can of it into town, selling it for about $2 and going back home to take care of my house, my children, my husband. I don't have time to plant your trees." The part about carrying is especially true. Any rural area you visit in Ethiopia - in Africa for that matter- you see women and older girls carrying huge loads of wood. From bundles of sticks to large branches. Wood markets grow up along major roads. But prices are low and the money is slow in coming. The idea the technicians came up was this: A woman can carry a load of about 29 Kg. (65 lbs). A donkey can carry 200 lbs. or about three times as much. Why not have local families organize into

Dr. Byan T. Kang, of Indonesia was an early pioneer in agroforestry technology. Here in Ibadan, Nigeria, he did important studies in using “alleycropping� to integrate trees with food crops.

During the years before TREES was organized, we served as consultants on projects such as this one in Nepal, where planting trees was especially needed. Through this, we learned about local conditions & established contacts with rural leaders.

Improved varieties of multi-purpose, fast-growing trees have greatly improved performance and increased the benefits to participating families. At our research farm in the Philippines, Rey Caparas, checks growth of an early K-636 type of Leucaena.

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groups of three and provide them one donkey to share - on the provision they plant, say, 300 trees to continuously harvest? So they agreed and over the following weeks they started buying donkeys. They soon found that the only donkeys they could buy were pretty beat up and so they were all taken to a farm in Qatbare for rehabilitation (mostly rest, decent forage and enough water). It wasn't long until our partner, GREENER ETHIOPIA had 54 donkeys on the mend and getting the attention of these women's associations. Early one morning a women came walking out of the hills. She had walked all night in an area full of poisonous snakes, hyenas and other dangers so that her group could be first in line to get a donkey. She also mentioned that, yes, a donkey can haul as much as three women but a donkey pulling a cart can haul as much as ten, maybe twelve, women. Within hours, Greener Ethiopia was contacting people to make carts. Interest in the program grew quickly. The benefits were quickly apparent. Now that local women's organizations had the ability to get wood to the market with far less labor, they did join in and start planting trees that would assure a sustained supply of firewood. When the water pump broke at one of the nurseries, and it took a week in the dry season to find parts and fix it, every day women showed up with their carts and water barrels and hauled water from the river so that more than 440,000 tree seedlings were saved. Then, when the rains did come, and the fields turned into black soup keeping light trucks from distributing the seedlings, again these light carts flew over the mud, allowing continuous delivery of seedlings to distant villages. TREES is often told we don't have enough infrastructure to continue such a major program. But we have a long history of making the best use of what we have available. We find that when local people know the program is for their benefit, they show us ways to make good work happen. To us, the main thing is to listen to people and show them how they can better their lives.

Word was getting around about TREES. In 1991, a group from Senegal, including Dr. Ale Ndiaye, advisor to the president, comes to our office to meet with then Chairman Dr. Galen Hull, Dave Deppner and Jeff Cochran.

Earth Day, March 1994, at the United Nations: Dave Deppner accepts the International Award from Dr. John McConnell, founder of Earth Day, as UN Undersecretary Xavier looks on.

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Important Dates for Trees for the Future: 1974-1977: Dave Deppner works with Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry to develop to develop livestock feed rations including leaves of "forage trees." 1984-1985: Dave Deppner corresponds with Wangari Maathai who is starting the WOMEN'S GREEN MOVEMENT in Kenya. Ideas and experiences are exchanged and millions of seeds are shipped to her organization. July 6, 1988: Loret Miller Ruppe, then Director of the U.S. Peace Corps, endorses the TREES program, stating that this program contributes to her vision of "Peace through Economic Development." September 1988: After a gigantic cyclone (160 miles across) strikes the delta lands of Bangladesh, TREES assists the relief program, providing seeds of beneficial trees and training manuals in-country. April 14, 1989: Trees For The Future is registered as a non-profit corporation in Maryland. May 1, 1989: TREES establishes a Board of Directors with Dr. Galen H. Hull as Chairman. Dave Deppner is hired as Executive Director and Grace Deppner serves as Associate Director. The Deppners home became TREES first office. November 29, 1989: TREES is honored for its international service by the National Arbor Day Foundation. December 21, 1989: TREES is granted status as a charitable organization in Maryland and receives a letter of commendation from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. December 31, 1989: TREES completes its first year of operations, having started new programs in India, the Philippines, Ghana, Honduras, and Cameroon, helping people plant more than 350,000 trees,

Water shortages have grown worse over these past 20 years. The deep-rooted trees in our program hold water on the land, guiding in into underground aquifers. In this upland community, where women once waked miles for water every day, now kids can go swimming after school.

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while gaining a membership of over 1,300 people. September 1992: Mt. Pinatubo erupts in the Philippines and TREES is asked by the Governor of Zambales to initiate a livelihood program including reforestation for the refugees. The program continues growing to this day. June 4, 1993: TREES is invited to serve on the White House Panel for Climate Change and serves in this capacity for the next eight years. March 20, 1994: TREES is honored at the United Nations with the Earth day Award, given Our new home: In June, 1999 our permanent office by Dr. John McConnell, one of the founders of was officially opened and dedicated to the late Loret Miller Ruppe. Here her husband, former Congressman Earth Day. Phil Ruppe tells about her life, while Chuck Bouquet, Assistant Director of Peace Corps, looks on. decides to

July 1994: GARRY TRUDEAU hold a "DOONESBURY SELL-OFF" of materials he has produced over the years, donating the income to TREES and other Charitable Organizations. Garry and his wife, JANE PAULEY, have generously supported TREES through these 20 years.

April 1996: in cooperation with the CHILDREN'S EARTH FUND, TREES initiates a program known as "TREE PALS" which provided environmental education to schools both in the US and in seven developing countries. In its first year, children in this program planted nearly a million trees. September 1996: JOHN DENVER, through his PLANT-IT 2000 foundation, starts assisting TREES to begin programs in new countries. Even after his death, Denver's foundation has continued this support. August 7, 1997: TREES purchases its permanent headquarters at 9000-16th Street in Silver Spring, Maryland and begins restoration of the building. September 1998: Hurricane "Mitch" delivers the strongest storm in more than 300 years to Honduras and Central America. TREES is asked to initiate a program of reforestation that has continued to grow to this day. November 23, 1998: TREES receives permission to occupy the property in Silver Spring and use it as the headquarters of a charitable organization. The office opens there on January 2, 1999. April 6, 1999: Julian Cho, leader of the Mopan and Tsetsal Maya communities, a coordinator of the TREES program in Belize and an outspoken opponent of the massive deforestation of Maya lands by a Malaysian firm known as Atlantic Industries, is assassinated in front of his home by "person or persons unknown" February 2000: TREES enters into a cooperative arrangement as volunteers with the FARMER-toFARMER Program of the US Dept. Of Agriculture and sends volunteer technicians to Haiti, Honduras, Page 12 Johnny Ipil-Seed News Vol. XVII, No. 3

the Philippines, Jamaica, Nigeria, Nicaragua and Russia. January 8, 2000: TREES is approached by a delegation from Ethiopia, which later organizes as "Greener Ethiopia" and asked to provide assistance to reforest degraded mountains. That began a program that continues to expand to this day. February 2002: TREES develops a program of hiring local technicians in countries with large tree planting programs. This has resulted in rapid expansion of the program and at a greatly reduced cost per tree planted. December 10, 2004: TREES opens its website: and shortly thereafter adds a brief video about the program. Within a year this becomes a major source of funding and brings in thousands of new members as well as helping start many new projects. August 28, 2005: Hurricane Katrina destroys New Orleans, causing a major shift in public attitude across Europe and North America about climate change, its consequences, and the possible climatic benefit of restoring trees to the world's degraded lands. October 30, 2008: TREES receives an award from the President of Ethiopia for our participation in the planting of 18 million trees in that country.

Fast-growing multipurpose trees are the initial step in rebuilding the land and bringing about a natural regeneration of the species native to the area. These Leucaena leucocephala trees in Senegal, 18 months after being outplanted, now make a windbreak over 18 feet tall

TREE PALS is started. The first school is “Cattle Landing� in Toledo, Belize where students harvest many of the mahogany and other seeds they will plant. In that first year, young people in seven countries planted 910,000 tree seedlings.

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Where are we Going From Here?

NO LACK OF NEED Flying over the border between Honduras and El Salvador (right) near sundown shows virtually no trees and clearly demonstrates why life is difficult for families in these uplands - why they are losing their ability to support themselves and why people from these degraded areas are increasingly turning to violence. But here also is great opportunity to offer these people higher living standards and a better quality of life. In doing so, we can address the growing threats to all of us: an energy crisis; the accompanying threat of global climate change, and diminishing supplies of food and water, leaving a sustainable future for all.

FULL-TIME TECHNICIANS IN THE FIELD Here (right) David Tye meets with a women’s organization where he works and lives in East Africa. In a year he has gained 30 new organizations and has assisted them to plant more than 2,000,000 seedlings. We are finding many former Peace Corps Volunteers, like David, who want to return to their former project sites to continue what they had earlier started. Training and supporting dedicated local technicians has many advantages: They can listen more closely to local groups and understand the needs of their community. They are there when problems arise and can quickly head them off and report them, receiving ideas to correct the situation. They help expand the projects into nearby communities. Since 2001, when we started employing local technicians, the program has expanded rapidly and the cost per tree planted has dropped by over 35%. We now employ 22 local technicians in 19 countries around the world.

LARGE SCALE PROJECTS TREES has always focused on decentralized community-led programs, where local participants join in because they see that planting trees will help bring them immediate and long lasting benefits. As our program grows, we are more able to develop projects across entire communities and watersheds. Reforesting large degraded areas greatly increases the benefits, both to individual participants and to the entire community. Large scale projects can help replenish groundwater supplies, control erosion and sedimentation, and develop new livelihood opportunities. These community-level benefits encourage even more growth. DEVELOPING IMPROVED TECHNOLOGIES: The windbreak (next page), composed of several species of fast-growing trees as well as fruit and timber trees, runs perpendicular to the prevailing winds in the dry season. This slows the wind and causes the dust to settle where it is mixed with tree leaves to form a

Page 14 Johnny Ipil-Seed News Vol. XVII, No. 3

The Need is Great...and the Time Grows Short

BIO-ENERGY PRODUCTION: Small scale farmers, marginalized by the globalization of the past 20 years, have the unique opportunity, using the few resources they have at hand, to sustainably produce the world’s most prized commodity: energy! The “plantation” concept attempted by the giant oil companies forgets the need of the people trying to survive on these degraded lands, and also the needs of the land itself. Integrating biofuels into agroforestry systems is an opportunity for small scale farmers to rebuild their lands while also adding an additional, very marketable, product. rich soil. The project eliminates the need for costly fences, provides a steady supply of food, fuel and, especially, organic matter to build soils – turning a problem into an opportunity. Combining all this with the vegetable crops to be sold in the city, this idea convinces many local families they can improve their lives by bringing trees back to their barren lands.

MONITORING AND VERIFICATION The proliferation of the internet and free, high power tools such as google earth is allowing TREES to provide unprecedented transparency in our programs. We have been providing handheld GPS units and simple digital cameras to our project leaders and field technicians so that we can precisely show the locations of our nurseries and project sites. This information is freely available ESTABLISHING TRAINING CENTERS on our website, providing a high level of transparency The need for additional technology continues . More and making it possible for anyone to validate our work. activities are now included in projects to bring the It also allows us to better showcase our work to our greatest benefit, and the greatest possible incentive, to members, so that they can see the progress first hand. the participants. TREES is regularly developing new technology. The need is to find ways to bring this to BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS the largest possible audience, demonstrating these ideas Conscientious businesses large and small are joinunder conditions they can also replicate. The most ef- ing in to help grow this program. We are very ficient way to achieve this is the establishment of dem- thankful that these businesses are joining our onstration/training farms with sufficient transportation members in supporting a sustainable future. to allow technicians to regularly visit nearby communities Page 15 Johnny Ipil-Seed News Vol. XVII, No. 3

In Memory of John Bosco Hakizimana In July, 2009, Trees for the Future lost a significant member of its family, John Bosco Hakizimana. A survivor of the civil strife and genocide which took the majority of his family, John was determined to return to Burundi to take part in the rebuilding process during this time of peace. With the help of Trees for the Future and the Church of the Redeemer, John worked tirelessly to promote peace amongst Hutus and Tutsis through the cooperative planting of trees. As part of the Burundi program, John Bosco taught the Hutu and Tutsi participants nonviolent communication, a field in which he is highly experienced. Trees for the Future is determined to continue John Bosco’s vision to bring much needed assistance to the people of Burundi. John Bosco at the Kirundi Nursery, one week before his sudden passing from cancer

Fall 2009 Newsletter  

Trees for the Future Fall 2009 Newsletter A quarterly newsletter of Trees for the Future, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping peo...

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