We are driving through the Grand Tetons en route to planting a tree in our 49th state. We have traveled so far and accomplished so much in the past 15 months, it feels like we are in a time warp. I am so glad we have high quality film production gear (thanks to Mom & Dad) that we have been able to use to capture everything. We have taken a snapshot of America the beautiful, and the people who make it that way.
We have been touched by people’s stories. We have inspired people with our stories, both personal and the ones we’re sharing from others we’ve met. At our planting events, we like to ask people to make wishes. One thing that all humans have in common is the right to manifest our dreams. Some folks were skeptical at first. Some laughed at us. Some cried. Some made us cry. The simple act of writing a wish, prayer, goal, memory, or idea on a scrap of paper and planting it under a native tree makes everyone who participates deeply connected to that tree. It increases the value of the tree growing in the community. The tree becomes a representation of everyone’s hopes and dreams living and growing into the future. Sara and I have been honored to plant our own wishes in each state. I don’t remember some of what I’ve wished for, but I know it’s already starting to come true.
The total impact of this tour will not be known for some time. Once the documentary is complete, we hope it will be an educational tool that inspires people everywhere to bring back native habitats in their yards, parks, and neighborhoods. There is a simple way to make the world better than we inherited it, and everyone can participate by planting the right tree in the right place. Throughout the Plant a Wish tour, we have seen many examples of hope and inspiration for the future. It feels refreshing to collaborate with others who “get it” and work hard to make this world better for future generations. All of these people deserve recognition.
This entire project has been made possible by the many people who believe in our mission, and have donated, shared their resources, shared their contacts, and who helped spread the word about Plant a Wish. We are almost at the finish line. We are very close to reaching our fundraising goal for the tour we’re currently on – the 3rd and final tour. We have only about $300 of our $7,000 goal left to raise by the end of the day Tuesday October 11th. That is 6 people giving $50. It takes a few days for the donations to transfer over to our bank account so we can pay for our rental car next week, which is why Tuesday is the deadline. If you can, make a contribution to get us there.
To give you an idea of what your generosity makes possible, here is a list of a few of the accomplishments from the Plant a Wish Tour – all of which was catalyzed by the many people connected to this project.
- Knoxville, IA – We planted a Red Maple tree with a small community at the eastern entrance to their town. Since we left, this community has demolished a nearby abandoned building and transformed the entire property into a community park and rain garden.
- Sedalia, MO – We planted a pin oak tree with a group of about 25 adults who have suffered severe brain injuries.
- Providence, RI – We planted an American Linden tree in front of the 1st. senior citizen center built for African American Women. There was no trees there, and now the ladies will be able to enjoy a nice shady spot outside on a hot sunny summer day.
- Long Island, NY – We planted a maple tree with a group of adults with developmental disabilities.
- Bad Axe, MI – We planted a grove of white pine trees with students at a newly built outdoor classroom at the Bad Axe High school. The trees were gifted by an alumni from the high school, who happens to own a plant nursery in town.
- Tucson, AZ – We planted a mesquite tree as a memorial for the victims of the Jan 8th, 2011 assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Family members of those who were lost, as well as survivors from the tragedy were present to plant their wishes.
- New Orleans, LA – We planted a cypress tree with the Make it Right foundation in the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood that was completely destroyed during hurricane Katrina.
- Nashville, TN – We planted a tulip poplar tree at an urban community garden in a public housing neighborhood.
- Oklahoma City, OK – On the 16th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, we planted a “Survivor Tree” – an elm that was sprouted from the famous tree that survived the bombing – with 80 students at a local inner-city middle school.
- Four Corners Monument, AZ, CO, UT, NM – On Earth Day 2011, we landscaped the entire Four Corners Monument with the help of the Navaho tribe, Ute Mountain Ute tribe, and native plant societies of all 4 states. We planted 13 large pinion, juniper, and mountain mahogany as well as 48 other shrubs, perennial plants and wildflowers.
- Los Angeles, CA – We planted a California sycamore with renowned organization Tree People during an urban tree-planting event. LA needs less concrete and more trees!
- Olympic National Park, WA – We planted a cottonwood tree in Olympic National Park along the Elwha River during the largest dam removal in United States history. Our tree was the first to be planted as a part of one of the nation’s largest-ever land restoration projects.
- Sandpoint, ID – We planted a grove of native trees and shrubs at Sandpoint Charter School. The school is now going to incorporate the grove into their 6th grade science curriculum.
- Libby, MT – We planted an aspen tree as a memorial for the people in the community who have died from asbestos contamination.
- Standing Rock Indian Reservation, ND – We planted a bur oak tree at the burial site of Sitting Bull. Many of the trees in this area have been destroyed by major flooding that occurred earlier this summer.
- Wounded Knee, SD – We planted 6 trees at a playground – with about 20 children helping – in a community that is experiencing the most extreme poverty in our nation.
These are just a few of the experiences we’ve had with this project – something we feel has grown so much bigger and more inspiring than we had ever imagined it would be. The future ahead is also really exciting to me. I hope you’ll join us – online or in person – as our project reaches its finale in Hawaii – a special statewide effort we have planned for November 5th.
And after that, we can’t wait to share the film with you!