FAQ: The ChariTree Foundation Camp Tree Planting & Environmental Education Grant

Who can apply for the grant?

Any Canadian Camping Association (CCA) summer camp can apply. The ChariTree Foundation 2024 Camp Tree Planting & Biodiversity Education Grant was created to help camps purchase trees (for example, white spruce seedlings, douglas fir seedlings, apple trees…) for their campers to plant with camp staff as part of a camp environmental education program. It is important not only to plant the trees but also care for them after they are planted.

“This is a fun way to get kids outside, teach them to plant local tree species and care about their world,” says Andrea Koehle Jones, award-winning environmental education advocate and executive director, The ChariTree Foundation. She hopes to give thousands of campers at 100 camps an opportunity to plant a tree this summer. “When children understand trees and how they impact the world they depend on, they are more likely to make a lifelong commitment to protect the environment for themselves and future generations.”

Camps can apply now for a $1,000 grant to:

  • purchase fruit trees and / or native trees and seedlings for your campers to plant (from your local tree farms and nurseries)
  • bring in environmental education experts like teachers, biologists, arborists… to help kids plant and learn about trees and biodiversity
  • host a children’s tree planting party for campers

*Grants will be provided to CCA camps until the grant fund runs out so apply early. Successful applications will be announced by email and delivered by June 12, 2024.

Note: The ChariTree Foundation will not be purchasing or shipping the seedlings, that is now up to each individual camp based on their location and planting and camp program specifications.

When will grants be announced and delivered?

Apply between April 20 – June 10, 2024. Grants will be provided to CCA camps until the grant fund runs out so apply early. Successful applications will be announced by email and delivered by June 12, 2024.

What do camps need to do?

  • Apply for grant
  • Research and purchase the best seedlings for your campers, location and project. (information about this below)
  • Lead a super-fun tree planting activities with campers and care for the trees after the trees are planted.
  • Email The ChariTree Foundation at info@charitree-foundartion.org a couple photos of campers from your tree planting day either holding seedlings or planting them.
  • If you want you can plant Wish Trees (instructions below) and submit your campers wishes for the world (optional)
  • Educate and inspire kids, connect with nation provide children a sense of accomplishment and have a TREEmendous day helping to make the world a better place!

What supplies to camps need to plant trees?

To plant trees successfully, you’ll need a few essential supplies. Here’s a list of what you’ll typically require and may already have at camp:

  • Tree Seedlings: Choose species that are suitable for your climate and soil conditions, and consider factors such as sun exposure and available space.
  • Shovels or Spades
  • Gloves: Wear gardening gloves to protect your hands from blisters, thorns, and rough surfaces while handling the tree and digging.
  • Watering Can or Hose: Adequate watering is crucial for the survival of newly planted trees.
  • Measuring Tape or Stick: To ensure proper planting depth, use a measuring tape or a stick marked with the desired depth to guide your planting process.
  • Stakes and Ties (Optional): If planting young trees that may need support to stay upright, you may need stakes and ties to secure them in place until their roots are established.
  • Wheelbarrow (Optional): If you have many trees to plant or need to transport heavy materials such as mulch or compost, a wheelbarrow or garden cart can be helpful.
  • Safety Gear: Consider wearing appropriate clothing, footwear, and sun protection like hats and sunblock to ensure your camper’s safety while planting trees.

What is a tree seedling?

A tree seedling is basically a baby tree that has recently sprouted from a seed and is in the early stages of growth. Seedlings typically have a single stem or trunk and may have a few small branches or leaves. 

White Spruce seedling – 1 Year Old.

They are usually grown from seeds collected from mature trees of the same species. These seeds are planted in a suitable growing medium like soil or a potting mix, and provided with the necessary conditions for germination, including moisture, warmth, and sunlight. As the seed germinates and begins to grow, it develops into a seedling.

Seedlings are vulnerable to environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations, drought, pests, and diseases, so they require careful attention and care to ensure their survival. Once established, seedlings can be transplanted into their permanent growing location, where they will continue to grow and develop into mature trees over time.

Seedlings play a crucial role in reforestation, afforestation, and restoration projects, as they are often used to establish new forests or replenish areas that have been deforested or degraded. By planting seedlings, individuals and organizations can contribute to the preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems and the environment as a whole.

Where can you purchase tree seedlings?

When purchasing tree seedlings, it’s important to choose species that are well-suited to your climate and growing conditions, as well as those that align with your specific planting goals and objectives. Additionally, be sure to consider factors such as seedling size, root structure, and overall health when selecting seedlings for purchase.

Planting white spruce seedlings at camp.

Tree seedlings can be purchased from various sources, including:

  • Nurseries: Local nurseries or garden centres often carry a variety of tree seedlings, including native species that are well-suited to the local climate and environment. These establishments typically offer a selection of both bare-root and container-grown seedlings.
  • Conservation Organisations: Many conservation organisations and non-profit groups sell tree seedlings as part of their efforts to promote reforestation and restoration. These organisations may offer seedlings at events, fundraisers, or through online stores.
  • Government Agencies: Some government agencies, such as state forestry departments or conservation districts, sell tree seedlings as part of their forestry and conservation programs. These seedlings may be available for purchase directly from the agency or through affiliated nurseries.
  • Online Retailers: Several online retailers specialise in selling tree seedlings and other plants for landscaping, reforestation, and conservation purposes. These retailers often offer a wide selection of species and may ship seedlings directly to your doorstep.
  • Tree Farms: Some tree farms specialize in growing and selling tree seedlings for use in reforestation, timber production, or landscaping. These farms may offer bulk discounts for large orders and may also provide planting advice or assistance. For example Tree Time Nursery in Alberta sells White Spruce seedlings for about $1.29 each (for a 270 seedling box) and offers ‘Guaranteed to Grow’ seedlings and free shipping by Canada Post Expedited mail to most locations across Canada. It is important for camps to do their research about which trees will suit their location. Also it is best to source a variety of local, native seedlings to contribute to healthy biodiversity.
  • (NOTE: Please do not email. The ChariTree Foundation does not have a staff to provide that research at this time.)

Do your research and if you want to participate, apply for a grant.

How to plant a Wish Tree

Children and youth around the world are planting Wish Trees. The idea was inspired by the popular children’s tree planting book The Wish Trees: How Planting Trees Can Help Make the World a Better Place. Preschoolers and early readers are connecting with the book and the idea that you are never too little to help the planet.

A fun activity is to have your campers plant Wish Trees and then make a wish for the world. You can send your wish to The ChariTree Foundation to post or you can make tiny tree decorations like butterflies or hears (from 100% recycled paper) and hang them with ribbons from the seedlings. Take selfies of the campers with the trees they just planted.

The Wish Trees encourages kids to plant a local tree seedling with their parents and teachers and then make a wish for anything — especially for the world. Then, every time they return to visit and care for their tree they can make more wishes!

If your children ask you to plant a Wish Tree with them, jump on this opportunity to learn and grow together.

Young children will fall in love with trees and begin to learn how trees can help our planet.

Happy Wish Tree Planting!

The Wish Trees: How Planting Trees Can Help Make the World a Better Place Kindle by ChariTree Foundation founder Andrea Koehle Jones (Author) and New York Bestselling Illustrator Alicia Padrón (Illustrator).

Remember to help your campers choose a place to plant as well as a local tree seedling that will grow strong and healthy in that space. Next, grab a shovel and get ready to change the world.

Dig It

Digging is fun and it’s okay to get dirty. Roots are the part of the tree that helps keep the tree from falling over. Roots also gather water and nutrients, a type of tree food, from the soil. Ask an adult to help you measure and dig a hole for your seedling. The hole should be three times as wide as the seedling’s roots, but only as deep as the roots.

100% of profits from this book will be donated to children’s environmental education and tree planting projects.

Pop It

Gently remove the tree seedling from its wrapper or container. Pop it into the hole you dug in the ground.

Wish It

Fill in the hole and pat the soil around the tiny tree trunk so the tree feels safe and secure and stands straight up. As you pat the dirt around your Wish Tree, close your eyes and make a wish. Don’t forget to make a wish for your tree and the world. W-i-s-h…

Blow your wish like a kiss out to the world or write your wish on (100% recycled paper heart or butterfly) paper hand tie it with a ribbon on your tree.

Hug It

Return often to check on your tree, water it when needed and hug it often.

Here are some children’s Wish Trees wishes:

“I wish I had superpowers to help the earth.”

— Aidan, Northern Ireland

“I wish I could have a tree planting party.”

— Layal, Syria

“I wish everyone would work together to help keep our planet healthy.”

— Avery, Canada

“I wish I could learn how to plant trees that would survive droughts.”

— Catherine, Zambia

“I wish everyone understood how trees help the world.”

— Bao, China

“I wish everyone would protect and hug trees.”

— Luke, United States

“I wish kids everywhere could have a tree of their own to plant.”

— Holden, Canada

What is your Wish Tree wish?

Post your wishes for the world on 100% recycled paper and place on a tree. You can also post their wishes at Make a WishForTheWorld.