Growing a little goodness was never so easy. This Earth Month, anyone can help turn over a new leaf for an important environmental project with the simple click of a mouse. Through its 2012 Plant a Tree program, Odwalla is donating $10,000 to worthy organizations, and the National Forest Foundation’s tree-planting restoration project on the Green Mountain National Forest is in the running for one of the grants.
2012 marks the fifth consecutive year Odwalla has made tree donations based on votes made by fans on the Plant a Tree program Web site. Over the past four years, the nourishing beverage and food bar company has provided $450,000 worth of trees to America’s state parks. The program has been updated this year to allow selected organizations to compete for $10,000 tree-planting project grants.
During April and May, visitors to the Plant a Tree Web site can support the Green Mountain National Forest by selecting the project video. If the video is not on the first page, scroll down and click 'next' then click on the video screenshot labeled 'Green Mountain National Forest.' Once the video has appeared, click 'Vote now for this organization.' No contribution is required. The 10 organizations with the most votes by May 30 will each receive $10,000 for tree planting.
In late August of 2011, much of the recreation opportunity and wildlife habitat on the Green Mountain National Forest was severely damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. The storm pummeled the forest and surrounding communities, dropping 11 inches of rain and causing the worst flooding in Vermont in a century. While upland hardwood forests were damaged, they generally survived the gale force winds and driving rain. Conversely, the massive flooding caused significant devastation to riparian areas, uprooting riverbank trees and depositing tons of sediment into rivers and streams. Without adequate forest cover along stream banks, sediment will continue to wash into rivers and streams, exacerbating the initial storm damage and threatening the recovery of important fisheries.
The Green Mountain National Forest and other partners had been working for more than a decade to restore wild Atlantic salmon stocks to two river systems on the forest – the Batten Kill and the Upper White River. These efforts and the millions of dollars and years of work that have been invested are now in jeopardy unless prompt restoration of riverside forests can be accomplished.
The trees planted through this project will help restore the hydrologic function of these rivers by stabilizing river banks, capturing and filtering sediment, providing cover and refuge for fish, and keeping water cool through shading, a key ingredient for healthy trout and salmon streams. The Green Mountain National Forest plans to plant large-stock trees, sourced from local nurseries, benefiting local community economies and hastening recovery efforts. By planting larger trees, banks will be stabilized sooner, river water will be kept cooler, and other wildlife will benefit from increased habitat and food availability. Birds, moose, beavers, coyotes, and other animals rely on healthy riparian corridors for food sources, shelter, and other needs. Without a prompt recovery of riparian forests, wildlife will struggle to maintain their healthy populations in the forest.
Additionally, the surrounding human communities will benefit from this project. Volunteers are already lined up to help with the planting efforts, ready to dig in and bring their beloved forest back to health. Restoring natural ecosystems is an important part of overall recovery from natural disasters, and the sooner this restoration happens, the sooner communities can return to “normal.”
Unfortunately, Forest Service budgets are extremely limited for this type of recovery work. The GMNF suffered extensive road and bridge damage and the wide majority of recovery monies are earmarked for repairing the damage to this critical forest infrastructure. Habitat recovery, such as that accomplished by this project, is lower on the priority list. The Odwalla Plant a Tree funding would provide the opportunity to begin this critical restoration work and would speed the recovery of this important ecosystem.
Since its inception in 2008, the Plant a Tree program has been one of many ways Odwalla supports the environment. Other efforts include the transition of all single-serve 12oz bottles to PlantBottle™ packaging, which is 100 percent recyclable and made from up to 100 percent plant-based materials, and the installation of fuel cell technology at its Dinuba, Calif., packaging facility, which reduces the plant’s carbon footprint.
Odwalla, Inc. delivers nourishment coast to coast with the Odwalla family of juices, juice drinks, smoothies, protein drinks, and nourishing food bars. Odwalla has been making juices and innovating in the natural health beverage category for 30 years. Its nourishing beverages and food bars are available in natural food stores, select supermarkets and specialty outlets throughout the country. To learn more about Odwalla products and Odwalla’s commitment to the environment, please visit www.Odwalla.com or call 1.800.ODWALLA. Also follow Odwalla on Facebook and Twitter (@Odwalla).
Vice President, Conservation Programs
NFF conservation programs, community-based conservation
Director of Communications
NFF conservation programs and events, community-based conservation
Ecosystem Services Program Manager
Tree-planting & Carbon Capital Fund programs
Director, California Program
NFF programs in CA
Director of Conservation Awards
Grants and grant programs