The Arbor Day Foundation is launching domestic and international planting projects to fulfill its commitment to plant more than 21.5 million trees funded by #TeamTrees, a viral crowdfunding campaign driven by YouTubers MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson) and Mark Rober in late 2019. As early as January 2020, trees will be planted in high-need public and private forests recovering from fire, storms, deforestation, and other threats.
“MrBeast, Mark, and hundreds of other YouTube creators shared our vision of building a better world through tree planting. They used their platforms to inspire more than half a million individuals to take action for our environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Now, the Arbor Day Foundation will do what we do best: ensure that 21.5 million trees are planted in the right places and at the right time.”
With more than 500,000 unique #TeamTrees donors from at least 200 countries, the first wave of planting was designed to ensure that every continent except Antarctica was supported. Some of the first planting sites include:
·California (Spring 2020): The 2018 wildfire season was unprecedented, with an estimated 8,000 fires burning through more than 1.8 million acres of forestland between July and December. The Arbor Day Foundation is replanting in this area to prevent increased challenges such as mudslides and degraded soil, water, and air quality. #TeamTrees trees will play a key role in this four-year reforestation effort, which aims to help families recover from wildfires including the Carr and Camp Fires.
·Kenya (Spring/Summer 2020): Kenya’s Kijabe Forest has historically been a home and corridor for wildlife and an important source of water for the country. Over the past 15 years, however, the forest has been cleared for charcoal and timber, creating dramatic and damaging impacts for wildlife, infrastructure, and quality of life. #TeamTrees trees will help reestablish a sustainable water supply through protecting and replanting around springs and rivers, restoring habitat for wildlife, stabilizing steep slopes prone to landslides, and securing livelihoods.
·India (Summer/Fall 2020): Southern India’s Cauvery River Basin is in crisis. The river has shrunk by an estimated 40% from its historical flows over 70 years. This sharp depletion is resulting in drinking water scarcity and difficulty farming. A loss of tree cover has also contributed to poor soil health. Reforesting this river basin and educating farmers about agroforestry practices will help to stabilize the river and improve soil conditions over time.
#TeamTrees plantings will continue through the end of 2022. International planting sites will include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, planting locations include Bitterroot National Forest (Montana), Bladen Lakes State Forest (North Carolina), Cache River Watershed (Arkansas), Chippewa National Forest (Minnesota), Custer Gallatin National Forest (Montana), Georgia watersheds, Michigan State Forest lands, Nebraska National Forest, Rappahannock River Watershed (Virginia), Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (Oregon), Superior National Forest (Minnesota), Tyndall Air Force Base (Florida), Washington State lands, and the Willamette River Basin (Oregon).
The environmental impact of #TeamTrees is significant: according to a U.S. Forest Service analysis, planting 20 million trees will absorb 1.6 million tons of carbon – the equivalent of taking 1.24 million cars off the road for a year. Trees planted will help improve air and water quality, expand natural habitats for wildlife, and mitigate climate change.
The Arbor Day Foundation was selected to implement #TeamTrees planting thanks to their vast network of tree planting partners and their proven track record of successfully planting trees at this immense scale. In March of 2019, the nonprofit organization publicly announced its Time for Trees initiative, an effort to plant 100 million trees by Arbor Day of 2022.
#TeamTrees came to life when the online community challenged 21-year-old YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson – aka MrBeast – to plant 20 million trees to commemorate hitting 20 million YouTube subscribers. Joining forces with other online influencers, including fellow YouTuber and former NASA scientist Mark Rober, Donaldson drove the YouTube community’s campaign to raise $20 million to plant 20 million trees around the globe. The campaign reached its $20 million goal on December 19, just 56 days after its launch on October 25. To date, the campaign has collected more than 500,000 donations totaling more than $21.5 million. While #TeamTrees garnered large contributions from tech industry leaders - including Elon Musk, Marc Benioff, Susan Wojcicki and Tobi Lütke – smaller donations from hundreds of thousands of donors pushed the campaign to the finish line. The most common donation amount was just $5.
About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Their vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at arborday.org.