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Planting Trees at Home and Changing Lives Around the Globe: A Note from the Chief Executive

It’s autumn here in North America with plenty of signs that this is tree-planting season. Fall foliage is fresh on our minds. Cool crispness fills the air. Flocks are migrating. Furry wildlife anticipates hibernation. And it’s an ideal time to plant trees, giving young roots the chance to stretch and anchor for a jump on next year’s growth.

Autumn is when many Arbor Day Foundation members eagerly anticipate the arrival of their trees, between now and mid-December, to plant at home.

October was also NeighborWoods month, a campaign to raise the awareness of how important trees are to our towns and cities. Tree-planting events across the country were carried out by the Alliance for Community Trees network, now an Arbor Day Foundation program. This network of local nonprofits led thousands of volunteers in planting trees.

Far to the south and on the other side of the world, autumn for us means springtime on the island nation of Madagascar. There, Arbor Day Foundation members supporting our Rain Forest Rescue program are making it possible to plant thousands of needed trees to help save rain forests. We’re also changing people’s lives.

In villages like Kianjuvato, more than 1,200 local Malagasy citizens now come to work each day to tend tree nurseries, propagate thousands of native trees and plant them on deforested mountainsides to help curb hunger and restore critical habitat for endangered wildlife. Our partners at the Madagascar Biodiversity Program recently told us about a young man working there, Tovoniaina Randrianarivelo (affectionately called Tovo), who is a Malagasy botany student supported through the partnership.

Tovo’s primary work is reforestation. But he is also a wonderful example to his peers and the children of Madagascar as he weaves education into his work. On his own accord, he shares our mission of inspiring others and teaching them about the benefits trees bring to the people of Madagascar, thus creating invested stakeholders in the preservation of the forest for future generations. Arbor Day Foundation support helps these Malagasy students earn respect, a sense of pride, and a connection to the natural world that inspires them to be better every day.

It’s yet another shining example of how support from members such as you is saving rain forests and changing lives.