How to help combat climate change: Crowdfund a native forest

by North & South / 07 August, 2018
Trees That Count
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There are many ways to mark a special occasion – and crowdfunding a native forest is now one of them, thanks to a new online platform from tree-planting charity Trees That Count.

As gift ideas go, a native forest is not usually at the top of our go-to list – but if one charity gets its way, it soon will be.

Kiwi tree-planting charity Trees That Count has launched Tree Registries, a new way to give a lasting, sustainable gift. Any individual, group or business can crowdfund through the charity’s website to donate native trees for a special occasion or specific project: a wedding, a new baby, or as part of a business’s sustainability mission.

Trees That Count is New Zealand’s only community marketplace connecting native tree planters with funders. It counts the number of native trees being planted by individuals and agencies, and helps increase this number by encouraging donations.

The charity’s mission is to see 200 million new native trees planted over the next 10 years. Native trees are a gift to our natural environment: they absorb carbon from the atmosphere, and are planted to last for decades longer than radiata pines; they encourage biodiversity, help restore waterways, and reduce soil and rainwater run-off.

Planting or donating a native tree is a simple thing any New Zealander can do to act on climate change, says Trees That Count communications manager Melanie Seyfort.

“It’s a little like a sustainable gift registry, where people are invited to fund a tree rather than buy a gift. Our hope is that, over time, donating native trees becomes part of how Kiwis celebrate significant occasions – and the planting or gifting of a native tree when a baby’s born is just what Kiwis do.”

In 2017, Trees That Count surpassed their goal of helping New Zealanders plant one native tree for every Kiwi, with more than nine million trees added to the count by the end of the year. Donations made through the registries are used to buy trees that people can apply for, says Seyfort.

“A school might want to plant 50 trees on their grounds; a farmer restoring part of their land might need a few hundred trees; community groups or a larger NGO like Conservation Volunteers might need 5000 to 6000 trees for a special project. Anyone who’s added trees to the count through our website can apply to get trees from us.”

Trees That Count launched the Tree Registries campaign in conjunction with the birth of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s baby. They’re encouraging Kiwis to donate to the Trees for Kiwi Babies registry, either for the Prime Minister’s baby or to celebrate any baby that’s special to them. The goal is to hit 60,000 trees, one for every baby expected to be born this year.

“Donations to this registry will go towards a series of planting events during Matariki 2019, when we’ll invite new Kiwi parents and their 2018 babies to come along and plant a native tree,” Seyfort says.

Set up in 2016, Trees That Count is managed by the Project Crimson Trust in partnership with The Tindall Foundation. It was recently awarded funding from the Provincial Growth Fund as part of the One Billion Trees programme, to help lead the grass-roots effort for community conservation organisations that are planting native trees.

“We want to make New Zealanders realise protecting our environment is a job for us all. There’s nothing better we can do for our children and grandchildren than to act now for climate change, and planting a native tree for every baby born is a lovely way to honour a new arrival.”

Donate a native tree for $10 to the Trees for Kiwi Babies registry or set up your own registry at treesthatcount.co.nz

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