More than a century ago, noted conservation leader John Muir said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to the rest of the universe.”
We live in a connected world. Certainly today, with cell phones, the Internet and Facebook, you might say people are more connected with each other than ever.
But as I recall that long-ago quote from John Muir, I think of examples of how people are connected to Arbor Day Foundation members and supporters in a different way. We are connected through the heart…caring and supporting others, sometimes on the other side of the world…as we carry out our shared mission of inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.
I recall the story of Danielle Gift who as a young child began loving trees when she nurtured the 10 baby trees her parents received from the Arbor Day Foundation. Her connection to those Arbor Day Foundation trees years ago led to a career as a professional forester in New York City today, where she cares for trees enjoyed by millions of fellow citizens.
I recall the story of Julio Fernandez Aguilar who we met high in the Andes’ rain forests of Peru. Julio is a coffee farmer, enthusiastically planting trees to reduce erosion, improve the soil and establish a lush canopy to protect his shade-grown coffee bushes. Foundation members supporting our Rain Forest Rescue program are connected to Julio and his family. The program purchases his high-quality coffee beans to roast here. As we offer the beans to coffee drinkers throughout the U.S., thousands more people are connected to Julio in Peru.
In the November/December edition of Arbor Day, you’ll meet some of “The Ready Women” who live on the African island nation of Madagascar. Support from Arbor Day Foundation members is providing them with jobs to lift them from poverty as they plant thousands of fruit trees for food and to restore habitat for endangered wildlife. The connection we share with our tree-planting mission here at home connects us directly with fellow tree-planting citizens on the other side of the world.
We live in a connected world with many examples of how our love of trees connects us with others. The trees we plant in our own backyards, and those we make possible in far-away forests seem to be “hitched” through our caring and support. Thank you for your part.