With the over 600 member charities that make up our network, it’s not surprising that we have difficulty keeping up with all the good work they’re doing. That’s why we reached out to our affiliate and chapter staff in the field to give us their favorite local member stories from 2013. The diversity of responses speaks to the far-reaching impact of EarthShare donors like you.
“When you think of Texas, the first image that pops into your head is probably not a pine forest. However, East Texas, where rain is more plentiful, is covered in Loblolly Pines. Several state parks have protected these pines from development making it a little oasis for those of us who live in Austin. During the extreme drought of 2011, almost 34,000 acres of forest burned to the ground in a fire, including 98% of Bastrop State Park. 1,700 homes and a few lives were lost as well. It was devastating. We had two good friends who lost their homes in the fire.
Treefolks, an EarthShare of Texas member organization, is working on a five year reforestation campaign to plant over 1.1 million trees on private lands – the first of its kind. Last winter, community volunteers and Texas Conservation Corps planted 68,000 loblolly pine and mixed hardwood trees on 54 private parcels throughout the burn area. Treefolks is giving trees, they are giving hope, they are giving life, and they are giving back the oasis that we all thought might be gone for good. For this my family and I are eternally grateful.” - Fleetwood Jacobs, Director of Programs and Operations, EarthShare of Texas
“In October 20, 2013, Shedd Aquarium and Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn announced the launch of the most ambitious solar panel installation of any cultural institution in Illinois. Shedd is currently in the first phase of installing 913 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of its Abbott Oceanarium. The 265-kilowatt solar electrical system is part of the aquarium's Master Energy Roadmap, an energy initiative aimed at cutting energy consumption by 50% by 2020, which would make Shedd the nation's first clean energy-powered aquarium.” - Tom Jacks, Managing Director, EarthShare Illinois
“I love hearing the stories of how our member groups are engaging kids in the environment. Institute for Applied Ecology in Corvallis told an amazing story of a little girl who went from tiptoeing through the mud, trying not to get dirty at the beginning of a wetland planting day -- to gleefully digging in mud up to her elbows and shouting “I just need to get one more plant in the ground!” when told it was time to go. Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Portland told a story of a boy in their Bicycle Education program who ended his first day ever riding a bike, with frustration and tears. But the next day, with the help of BTA’s trained educators, he was riding like a pro and talking about how his family had agreed to get him his first bicycle. These are just two of the examples that stick with me – there are dozens more stories of how EarthShare members are helping shape the next generation of environmental advocates.” - Meghan Humphreys, Director of Workplace Activities at EarthShare Oregon
EarthShare North Carolina
“I love that North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (NCCLT) has preserved 50,000 acres along our coastline. A recent land deal protects a place that includes the Airlie Oak, a tree so big that people used to have a dinner parties in it. The list also includes places where people seldom go, but that protect the clean waters of our coast. NCCLT also protects family farms and species like the venus fly trap that only grows in very small areas along the coastal Carolinas. It is the diversity of these places that make our North Carolina Coastal region unique and special. It makes me proud to be a resident of North Carolina as well as a donor to this important work.” - Jessica Robinson, Outreach and Employee Engagement Associate, EarthShare North Carolina
EarthShare New York
“Harlem is full of beautiful parks and waterfront where I spend many spring and fall days exploring, playing Frisbee, kayaking, or long boarding with my husband and our friends. When Sandy struck the Northeast, many of these areas that we city-dwellers depend on took a hard hit. Visiting the Rockaways and Hudson River Park one week after Sandy, I was overcome with despair for these communities. Fortunately, citizens and organizations alike came together to restore what was lost.”
“New York Restoration Project (NYRP), an EarthShare New York member, is one of those organizations. In 2013 they rebuilt a garden in the Rockaways that brought fresh vegetables to an underserved community and planted thousands of trees in parks that suffered after Sandy. I have a wooden bowl sitting on my kitchen table, made from a felled “Sandy tree” in Van Cortland Park by the artist Topher DésPrés. The bowl was a wedding gift from Topher (who donates 20% of his bowl proceeds to NYRP) and it serves as a reminder of how much we have overcome since Sandy. Thanks to NYRP, there’s a new tree growing, replacing the one that became my lemon bowl.” - Sharon (Sassmann) McCay, Development Associate, EarthShare New York