“I want to give children opportunities to fall in love with nature,” says Andrea Koehle Jones, Founder, The ChariTree Foundation. “You protect what you love.”
Andrea Koehle Jones is a children’s environmental education advocate, an environmental journalist and children’s book author. She is dedicated to introducing children to the wonders of nature through her writing and her support of accessible nature-based environmental education programs for kids.
Andrea is a contributing writer at EcoParent Magazine, an award-winning documentary producer, formerly with CBC News, Newsworld International and CBC4KIDS. She has worked for various environmental organizations. Andrea was a Greenpeace Canada communications specialist during the campaign to save The Great Bear Rainforest. She is also a clean tech investor and co-founder of Canada’s FirstLine Foundation.
Inspired by her children’s love of nature, Andrea founded The ChariTree Foundation on Earth Day 2006. She runs the charity for free (when she is not at her other jobs) so all donations can go directly to kids learning environmental stewardship.
“If children are going to make a lifelong commitment to protect the environment for themselves and future generations, they first need time to explore the wonders of nature,” said Koehle Jones.
The ChariTree Foundation is a registered Canadian charity rooted in a philosophy that kids need more time to connect with nature. ChariTree helps pay to send kids to environmental education programs. In response to covid-19, ChariTree began helping to support school’s attempting to build outdoor classrooms. Andrea has given thousands of children opportunities to plant trees across Canada and around the world through schools, camps and children’s organizations.
The trees children receive are called Wish Trees because when they plant their tree they get to make a wish for the world. Every time kids return to care for their tree or spend time with their tree they can make more wishes. Here are a few wishes from children who planted Wish Trees:
“I wish I had super powers to save the earth and save people.” – Aiden, Hamilton, Ontario.
“I wish for a happy and healthy planet, so it can be there for generations to enjoy.” – Kiana, Toronto
“I wish kids everywhere will have the opportunity to plant trees just like me so we can make the world healthier together. Thank you so much to The ChariTree Foundation.” – Avery, Vancouver, BC
Andrea is a recipient of the Canadian Camping Association’s Award of Excellence for her national environmental education program that gives local trees to children at summer camps. She is a graduate of Queen’s University (BAH geography with a focus on international development) as well as Western University‘s Graduate School of Journalism (MA Journalism). She lives on a tree-topped island off the coast of Vancouver, Canada.
Andrea is the author of the The Wish Trees: How Planting Trees Can Help Make the World a Better Place. She also wrote the lyrics to the tree song “My Persephone.” A portion of profits from book and song sales are being donated to children’s environmental education projects.
“There’s something so hopeful about planting trees,” said Koehle Jones. “I’ll never forget the children we planted trees with in Africa and I’ll never stop trying to bring more children trees.” WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEO: Children’s Tree Charity: A Wish Tree for Every Child.