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A worldly perspective.

As Global ReLeaf International grows, it regreens hopes worldwide.

Eastern Europe proved to be a motherlode for Global ReLeaf International over the past year, with the three newest International partners--Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Ukraine--hailing from this rapidly changing part of the world. Those three bring the number of Global ReLeaf International partners to 11; an equal number are seeking partnership status. The other current partners are Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, Spain, and the United Kingdom.


Global ReLeaf Bulgaria was initiated in April through an agreement with "the Ecomonitoring Club to Wilderness Fund" located in Sofia, the capital. This not-for-profit organization was started in 1989 and operates at the national level. Its highest priority is establishing an educational environmental program that would include practical field work.


The Global ReLeaf partner in Ukraine is the National Ecocentre of Ukraine. It is centered in the capital city of Kiev and has 15 branches throughout the country. Ecocentre, an independent non-government public organization, was established by scientists and citizen activists under the leadership of local ecological citizen groups. It was established on August 30, 1991, immediately after the coup.

In September, the governor general of Canada, Ramon Hnatyshyn, paid a visit to Ukraine. It was Hnatyshyn's first official visit to his ancestral homeland, and while there he planted an oak tree. His wife, Herda, planted a Canadian maple. Attending the ceremony were Kiev's mayor, Ivan Saliy, and Lev Lukianenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada. Lukianenko, who had been imprisoned for 15 years under the Brezhnev regime for his outspoken views on Ukrainian independence, planted a viburnum tree, long the symbol of an independent Ukraine.

The event received extensive news coverage and publicity for the Ecocentre. On November 1, Ecocentre staff, schoolchildren, and volunteers planted 1,000 trees on the banks of the Rubizh River near Kiev.


In Slovakia (at press time, it was still part of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic), the Global ReLeaf partner is "the Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Conservation." It was founded in 1969 as a voluntary organization with chapters throughout the country, Historically, Slovakia has been an advocate for the preservation of, and education about, its environment. Since Slovakia established the Department of Forestry in 1807, it has consistently striven to maintain healthy forests.

The tree-planting program of the Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Conservation is called "the Green Traditions of Life." A recent declaration sent to AMERICAN FORESTS stated: "'The Green Traditions of Life' challenges forestry specialists, conservationists, and the general public to halt the trend toward environmental crisis."


Budapest, Hungary, was the site of the first Move-A-Thon, a festival of bicycling, walking, roller skating, and running. The September festival raised money as it heightened Hungarians' environmental awareness. The money went to the Independent Ecological Center (IEC), the nonprofit environmental organization that is Global ReLeaf's partner in Hungary, to help with its environmental projects, including tree planting.

Trees help combat air pollution, which has become such a problem in Budapest that it could ultimately make the city unlivable. According to George Gado, forest and program manager for Hungary's tree-planting projects, Budapest is one of the world's most polluted cities, with 44 percent of the population breathing heavily polluted air. Many of the bicyclists in the Move-A-Thon rode with masks, to draw attention to the situation.

Sponsors of the festival included Schwinn, Levi-Strauss, and Coca-Cola.


Fundacion Natura, Ecuador's Global ReLeaf partner, carried out many successful projects in 1992. In celebration of Earth Day, it planted more than 270 trees and sold T-shirts that read "For un planeta fresco ... mas arboles," which means "For a cool planet ... more trees."

Education booklets prepared by Fundacion Natura will be used by 20,000 students in the Ecuadorian highlands. Each student will also receive a seedling to plant.


Depana, the Global ReLeaf partner in Catalonia, Spain, has announced two reforestation projects in and around Barcelona. The first, the Banyoles Lake Shoreline Restoration Project, involves the planting of about 4,000 ash, poplar, and willow trees. The first 50 trees were planted in April by volunteers, and the project was to continue through the fall, supported by $25,000 in funding from Fixonia, a Catalonian-based cosmetics company. Banyoles Lake was the site of the rowing events of the Summer Olympics in July.

Nearly 2,000 trees and 1,500 shrubs were planted as part of the restoration of the Llobregat River Forest, located in the town of Molins de Roi, 15 kilometers from Barcelona. As part of the project, litter was cleaned up along the river; the original shoreline was restored; and a nature trail, picnic area, observation platform, and information panel were created in the forest. Other programs in the works include the publication of Global ReLeaf educational and informational materials and a campaign on urban forests in Barcelona.


Tree Amigos, a program of the Center for Environmental Study in San Jose, Costa Rica, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, has received $75,000 in grant money from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The money is part of a $4.8-million grant awarded to the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources, of which the Center is an institutional partner.

The $75,000, which will be distributed in three yearly installments, will be used for teacher training and module development in the Tree Amigos program, which reaches across cultures to create global partnerships that help reforest the Americas and promote global stewardship. In Costa Rica, Tree Amigos has helped with land acquisition, reforestation, and the establishment of tree nurseries.


State and local governments across the nation are expressing a growing interest in regulating forestry practices--particularly timber harvesting--on private lands. With the trend in mind, three seniors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute worked with AMERICAN FORESTS last fall to study trends in state forest-practice laws.

The students--Matt Reardon, Dennis Obie, and Amy Gilman--helped collect and synthesize basic information on these laws. They also assessed questions such as: What forces are driving the increased interest in these laws, what might future trends include, how are these laws perceived by various interests, and what alternatives to regulation might be considered.

The students spent two months doing background research and developing a project workplan before coming to Washington in mid-October. Their workplan included compiling existing materials, collecting case studies in developing and implementing such laws, and interviewing national forestry and conservation organizations to obtain a range of views on such laws.


When called on to serve, Arizona's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was quick to respond. It is first in line for a series of urban forestry projects to be conducted on military bases throughout the country.

The projects will help quantify the impact of urban trees in mitigating the urban "heat island" effect, bringing down summer temperatures over neighborhood-sized areas. The lower temperatures reduce energy requirements for air-conditioning, thus reducing the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil-fuel combustion at electrical generating plants. Under the leadership of Colonel Wes Gallop, deputy base commander, Davis-Monthan will demonstrate the effects of large-scale tree planting in its residential neighborhoods, and share the results with other military bases.

A1 Sample, director of AMERICAN FORESTS' Forest Policy Center, and Guy Betten, director of the Cool Communities project, visited the base to kick off the program. The research is being conducted in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, with support from the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy. Tucson Electric Power, a partner in the Cool Communities project in neighboring Tucson, is loaning monitoring equipment.

Next in line: Fort Sill Army Base in Oklahoma and Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida.


Continuing Texaco's long-term interest in urban forestry, the Texaco/Global ReLeaf Urban Tree Initiative recently spread to the Texas cities of Austin, Midland, and Port Arthur. As in previous cities--Houston, New Orleans, Denver, Los Angeles, Charleston, Miami, and Tulsa--these new areas are home to a dedicated cadre of Texaco employees. They'll become partners in tree-planting and care projects proposed and designed by local experts.

With assistance from the Texas Forest Service, local urban forestry agencies, groups such as Keep Midland Beautiful, and coalitions of groups such as Austin ReLeaf, these high-quality, community-based tree projects will provide the Texas towns with both environmental and community benefits.

Texaco's commitment to city trees, and its dedication to improving educational opportunities for students, led to a September Texaco/Global ReLeaf project in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. Texaco employee volunteers became teachers for a day. Using the Growing Greener Cities Environmental Education Guide, a product of Global ReLeaf through Learning, Texaco "teachers" taught lessons on the benefits of trees for grades K-5 at Montview and Crawford elementary schools. Later the children applied what they had learned with tree plantings at their schools and at Montview Park.

The 150 trees planted at Montview will help Aurora's efforts to establish a greenbelt that will link Westerly Creek and Sand Creek when nearby Stapleton Airport closes in 1994. Texaco volunteers, schoolchildren, representatives from the Colorado State Forest Service and the City of Aurora Forestry, and neighbors were able to finish the planting in a couple of hours despite soil that was either laden with concrete, rocks, and asphalt or soaked with water and consequently heavy and muddy.


The Walden Woods Foundation is raising money to save Thoreau's famous woods from the developer's ax, and musician Don Henley, its spokesperson, is promoting AMERICAN FORESTS' Famous & Historic Trees program as a way to help. Several major corporate sponsors are lending their support to a program to sell progeny of trees that grow in Walden Woods.

Mr. Coffee printed a message promoting the offer on 52 million coffee filter boxes, and Rolling Stone magazine's September Silver Anniversary issue included a half-page ad for the trees. Walden Books made the offer to more than three million people receiving its Christmas catalog, and Boston Edison mailed its customers information both about purchasing a Walden Woods tree and about the overall energy savings trees provide.

To further publicize the program, Henley performed a satellite media tour in October. The tour, sponsored by MasterCard International, originated in Los Angeles and was beamed in a live-interview format to major markets nationwide. MasterCard and a participating bank partner in each tour city will support the planting of a Famous & Historic Tree Grove and install AMERICAN FORESTS' Growing Greener Cities Environmental Education Guide in at least one local school. MasterCard has set up an 800-number for consumers to learn more about its Forests for the Future program and about ordering a tree. It launched the new initiative in Oakland, California, by sponsoring Famous & Historic Tree Groves at 25 inner-city schools.

Steve Jonas and other MasterCard officials helped plant the first grove at the Webster School in conjunction with East Bay ReLeaf. Kara Goldheim and the staff of East Bay Releaf also worked with the state Department of Education to introduce AMERICAN FORESTS' Growing Greener Cities education guide along with the tree groves as living classroom projects for the schools.


Sacramento, California, and Springfield, Illinois, are the latest cities to be designated "Cool Communities" under AMERICAN FORESTS' innovative new program of the same name. Other participants so far in the action-oriented environmental improvement program are: Austin, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Frederick, Maryland; and Tucson, Arizona.

Seven communities were selected to participate in the program, which was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and AMERICAN FORESTS. It is designed to combat the urban "heat island" effect, a major cause of uncomfortably high summer temperatures in many cities. Based on concepts in the EPA guidebook, Cooling our Communities, the Cool Communities program will demonstrate the extent to which strategic tree-planting and lightening of dark-colored surfaces can improve urban environments and save money on heating and cooling. Government agencies, citizen groups, schools, and businesses are asked to support the effort in each community.

Sacramento mayor Anne Rudin announced her city's involvement during a press conference at City Hall. Donning large sunglasses, she quipped the event was also a "...celebration of something we already know--that Sacramento is one cool city."

She was joined for the November 10 announcement by Cool Communities Director Guy Betten; EPA regional representative Michael Stenburg; Peter Keat, Sacramento's municipal utility district director; a spokesman for U.S. Representative Vic Fazio; and Jean Shaw-Connelly, president of the Sacramento Tree Foundation. Connelly described the event as a celebration of the partnership between the Foundation, the utility company, and the city.

Springfield's participation was made official two days later with a press conference at historic Union Station and a tree-planting at nearby Union Square Park. The announcement was made by Mayor Ossie Langfelder, and attended by Betten; Lee Ann Naue of the EPA; Stewart Pequignot of Illinois Department of Conservation; Lynn Frasco of Springfield Water, Light and Power; Eileen Bullard and William Bolt Jr. of the Springfield Tree Commission; and other city and state officials.

"Springfield's proven commitment to energy conservation and environmental enhancement make it a perfect city to cooperate with in this effort," Betten said.

The communities represent a wide range of climates, sizes, and needs. The seventh participant will be Dade County, Florida, where AMERICAN FORESTS' Global ReLeaf program also is developing an urban reforestation master plan in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.


AMERICAN FORESTS was privileged to organize, under the sponsorship of The German Marshall Fund of the United States, an October study tour of U.S. parks and protected areas for eight officials from the eastern part of Germany. The tour, which familiarized them with an array of administrative and management plans for forest and park lands, included visits and seminars with key officials in Oregon, California, and the greater Washington, DC, area. Members of the tour group gave their hosts high marks and said they were astonished by the number and variety of protected areas in the U.S. The contacts and friendships made, they said, will be invaluable in the future.


AMERICAN FORESTS' Famous & Historic Trees program has received a national environmental E-Achievement Award from National Public Radio's acclaimed E-Town program. E-Town, an issues-oriented, live-music show airs weekly and focuses on the environment.

Jeff Meyer, project coordinator for Famous & Historic Trees, received the award in November via a live telephone hook-up. The award is given for an outstanding creative environmental project, and Jamie Roney, director of public relations for Famous & Historic Trees, said, "... this E-Achievement Award is a real treat ... Now we have something to really boast about."


When you think of fund-raisers, you usually think of candy, magazines, and wrapping paper. Well, add greening the earth to that list, thanks to Sharing in a Better World, a program that sponsors socially responsible fund-raisers for youth, civic, and community groups.

The new tree-planting program, developed by Reese Brothers, Inc., raises money by selling trees to be planted in Global ReLeaf Heritage Forests. Instead of carrying trees door to door, the groups carry booklets containing tree certificates. The certificates explain that a tree will be planted on the donor's behalf in a forest-restoration project selected by AMERICAN FORESTS. A portion of the money raised goes back to the local group.

Participants who sell 10 trees receive a "Trees are Cool" T-shirt; those selling 25 trees get a similar sweatshirt. Since its introduction last fall, more than 175 groups, primarily schools, have signed up. In addition to raising money, the program helps young people learn the important role trees play in helping the environment. To learn more about Sharing in a Better World call 800/545-TREE.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Forests
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:American Forests Today; Global ReLeaf International
Author:Rice, Doyle S.
Publication:American Forests
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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