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Actress aids wildfire efforts.

When more than 500,000 acres of California forest burned last year, AMERICAN FORESTS created California Wildfire ReLeaf to help begin the restoration process. The wildfires killed 20 people, displaced more than 2,000, and devastated the area's forests, and the response to AMERICAN FORESTS' call for help was overwhelming.

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Contributions poured in from individuals and from corporations, including Hewlett Packard, Earthbound Farm, Tree of Life, Pacific Bell Pioneers, Working Assets, Plum Foundation, Starbucks, Tetra Pak, and American Honda, among others. But it was one particular new partnership--one that brought together a box office superstar and a popular fashion magazine--that became one of the most innovative efforts for restoration, and a first for AMERICAN FORESTS.

Marie Claire magazine, which boasts more than 54,000 readers nationwide, heard about California Wildfire ReLeaf a few days after the campaign began. The magazine was so moved by the challenge to help regreen southern California that it put forth a two-pronged effort.

First, the March issue of Marie Claire featured an article on actress and California resident Sarah Michelle Gellar and her work with wildfire victims in burned neighborhoods. Second, the magazine advertised a limited edition cubic zirconia butterfly necklace, with the proceeds benefiting California Wildfire ReLeaf. Gellar agreed to model the necklace in the ad. Each $29.95 necklace sold planted more than 15 trees with California Wildfire ReLeaf, thanks to a tree-for-tree match by the U.S. Forest Service.

Gellar is best known for her starring role in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and for her work as Daphne in the Scooby Doo movies. The Marie Claire article described her charity work with the Red Cross in a burned neighborhood of San Bernadino. Gellar handed out food and clothing and talked with residents, some of whom had lost their homes and all their possessions.

Before traveling to San Bernardino from her home in Los Angeles, Gellar spent time learning about the ecology of wildfire and the way drought and tree-killing beetles had turned the forests to tinder. The article described how she worked among sandbags placed to stem off the inevitable flooding and mudslides that threatened as a result of the vegetation loss on the hillsides.

The efforts by Marie Claire and Gellar have resulted in nearly $225,000 in contributions to support the planting of trees in southern California. AMERICAN FORESTS' ecosystem restoration efforts will greatly speed the healing process for these forests.

To purchase a necklace to benefit California Wildfire ReLeaf, visit http://www.netaya.com or call 800/636-6884 (cite style #NP2SJN51ZMC). Or, you can visit http://www.americanforests.org to donate directly to California Wildfire ReLeaf.
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Title Annotation:News from the World of Trees; Sarah Michelle Gellar
Author:Brittin, Rachel
Publication:American Forests
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2004
Words:444
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