Hi dear you,
Today I am writing to you to share my passion for trees with you, and tell you about something exciting!
I have adored trees since I was a small girl.
In the 1980s, my mother introduced me to a charity working in East Africa using Agroforestry to support local communities grow. Their slogan was “Where trees grow, people grow”. Every tree that is planted helps to support healthy, sustainable farming and ecosystems.
My mum and I used to love planting trees as a gift for loved ones and to mark birthdays, graduations and other life events this way.
When she passed away we planted a whole little forest in her memory.
[To learn more about Wish Tree’s support for Agroforestry click here]
But my passion for trees didn’t stop here.
One day when I was 11 years old, my mother brought home a magazine for teachers and showed it to me. In the magazine we learned about a little school somewhere in Sweden who had started to raise money so that they could buy rainforest in Costa Rica and save it, preventing it from being cut down.
They had even started a charity, called “The Children’s Rainforest” and in the magazine, they were telling us why this business of saving the Rainforest was so important.
“I want to do that, I said to my mum” , “I too want to save the Rainforest”.
“Can we, please?”
And so we did.
We started our own little fundraising project with my school friends and their parents, and soon it had become our sole focus when we were not in school.
We would campaign in the local square, raising awareness and money, and buying acre after acre after acre of rainforest. It grew and grew and grew., and we became known as the Rainforest kids!
Soon we had secured over a million square metres of primary rainforest.
One million square metres is SO big when you are 11 years old.
As an adult I now know that during that time, my friends and I learned that despite being only small, it is possible to make a big difference as long as you have passion and determination and believe in your own power to change the status quo.
In those days, pre-internet, we would wait weeks and weeks for our certificates and updates about the forest to arrive in the post.
We received hand-written letters telling us about the rainforest and the creatures that lived there and any news about spotted Jaguars, Quetzals or Tapiers.
And soon children all over Sweden were involved, raising money to save the rainforest in Central America. And then German children got involved, and British, and North American, and Japanese…
The Children’s Rainforest gradually and quickly become a global movement of children taking the future of the Planet in their own hands.
And it still is.
Today there is an incredible, vibrant, lush, rich, precious forest in the Monteverde region of Costa Rica heaving with life and oxygen, entitled the “Children’s Eternal Rainforest” [Bosque Eterno de los Niños].
How do I know it’s really there?
Well, because I visited!
In 2014, my now husband and I decided to elope to Costa Rica and get married!
And so I wrote to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest to tell them we were coming.
And they were delighted.
In fact, they wanted to give us a tour of the ‘teaching forest’ (where children come to learn about the rainforest) as a WEDDING GIFT!!
We simply couldn’t believe our eyes when we arrived in Santa Elena, Monteverde.
The little village that had been described to us in the letters 26 years before, was now a blossoming hub full of scientists and researchers and a whole eco-tourism industry based around the forest.
We were told that the forest is one of the most bio-diverse on Earth.
When people asked our reason for visiting, I shared my story about the 11- year old girl who wanted to join a movement of saving their Rainforest.
And then there were tears and there were selfies.
Because they knew about us.
The Swedish children who were part of the original movement.
There were hugs of gratitude. And laughter and amazement.
There was awe and wonder when I showed them the original documents and photos from all those years ago.
For a day I was a Rainforest celebrity!
And so I am sure it now is no surprise to you why I HAD to choose the name Wish Tree when it was time to find a name for my heart-based business.
This Festive season the Wish Tree Academy has planted 100 ‘Wish’ Trees in East Africa to mark the growth of all it’s Academy Students, and new forest, the size of 4 large football pitches, in the Children’s Rainforest have been secured in the name of new life and new beginnings for our whole community.
YOU are part of that forest.
That’s my New Year’s gift to you.
What will you be and do in 2018 to unlock all that vibrant life-force energy that just like in the forest lives inside you?
I can’t wait to explore that with you in the year to come!
Wishing you a blessed and peaceful end to 2017.
Gratitude for your continued support.
With my love, always,