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4-H million trees.

We're living in a time when we can witness global climate changes first hand, from increasingly dangerous weather crossing the planet, to the accelerated melting of ice in the polar regions. As the stewards of earth, it is our responsibility to affect a positive change for generations to come. Fortunately, many youth groups are already actively working to preserve their own future and the future of their descendants and our planet.

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One such pioneer is Laura, Webber, a 15-year-old high-school sophomore and active member of the Belmont 4-H Club in San Mateo County, California. At 13 Laura knew she wanted to do something with trees and wanted to achieve it within the scope of the 4-H Club. She wanted to have a major impact on reducing global climate change and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. After bouncing ideas back and forth for several months with her father, Tom Webber, the concept of the 4-H Million Trees Project (4HMT) was born. That seedling idea has taken several years to grow into the ongoing project it is today.

4HMT has been inspirational to several people across the country. Wendy Rotchstein of San Mateo County wanted to remember her father with a living tribute. Through 4HMT's partnerships, she got enough trees to plant what will grow into the Edwin Olmsted Memorial Grove.

4-Hers from Leo Kerner Jr. Elementary 4-H Club and the Fisher High School 4-H Club in Lafitte, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans, have registered over 3,500 trees with the 4HMT Project. That's truly inspirational considering the devastation these young people and their families faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

When asked why this project is so important, Laura replied. "It is crucial for youth to know about climate change and the dangers it poses. They are going to be the ones who can make the difference necessary to combat it. "Laura encourages young people to "Get involved early so they build the confidence that they really can make a difference."

Laura has been actively involved in promoting the 4HMT Project by appearing as a guest speaker at 4-H events. She emphasizes, "It's important that we get our message out there and people understand why we started this project." To date, 7,530 4-H members from 106 clubs across the country have done just that - gotten involved and planted 20,784 trees since March 2008. The project's goal is to reach one million trees by Laura's high-school graduation in 2011. For more information and updates, or to see how you can help, visit the project's website at www.4hmilliontrees.org.

AMERICAN FORESTS provides a grant for 4-H clubs through the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). The annual program allows clubs the opportunity to apply for a grant to supply them with ESRI geospatial software that aids in their environmental research and efforts. AMERICAN FORESTS also provides its innovative CITYgreen program extension.

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Title Annotation:News from the world of Trees
Author:Easley, Steven W.
Publication:American Forests
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:485
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