Vancouver, BC — 12/05/2016 — The future stewards of the environment are growing in a world of disappearing forests, rising temperatures and sea levels, and more extreme weather. Without access a healthy climate, tens of millions of lives and the lives of generations to come are sure to be impacted as children everywhere are being set-up to bear a disproportionate share of the burden of climate change, says Andrea Koehle Jones, Founder and Executive Director, The ChariTree Foundation. “Climate change is a serious problem and our response, frankly, isn’t enough.”
Koehle Jones founded The ChariTree Foundation ten years ago. This national children’s charity is dedicated to getting kids outside and being part of the climate change solution by planting trees. The ChariTree Foundation has given more than 100,000 children trees in Canada and around the world to plant and has set a goal of giving a million children a tree to plant in the next ten years.
She says we’ve already seen some great progress. But there’s still work to do. That’s why she has been working on one way to help change the way we heal the planet. Koehle Jones feels kids can be part of the solution and learn to take care of the planet they are inheriting. “Kids care about the world,” Koehle Jones says. “They’re very connected to their environment and they want to help heal the planet — if we let them.”
I love working with children and I am so inspired by their deep connection to nature. It doesn’t seem fair to leave them with a world ravaged by climate change. The best I can think to do is to arm them with the tools to live in it and help fix it.
“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,” she says. “One of the best ways to teach environmental education is to give kids a tree of their own to plant. It’s about learning to care for something beyond yourself while learning about self-sufficiency, reforestation, trees as future food sources and the benefits of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction.”
When a child plant a tree in Canada for example, they are making an immediate contribution to their community and at the same time they are helping kids on the other side of the world by helping to stabilize the climate.
Children are the future stewards of the environment.They want to help So let’s let them. This is an idea rooted in generosity, love, and compassion. “What if we gave every child, everywhere a tree to plant? And not just any tree – a locally grown, non-gmo, native tree species?”
She says The ChariTree Foundation would purchase the trees from local growers, boosting local economies and then children could plant a tree at their home, school, camp and / or children’s organization. In this way kids learn how to plant and care for a tree and how to have a positive impact on the world.
“Since 2009, thanks to ChariTree, thousands of campers in hundreds of camps across Canada have planted trees on their camp properties. This excellent program has enabled children to experience the joy and satisfaction of planting their very own tree while beautifying their site, creating windbreaks or replacing trees lost to fire or disease,” said Jill Dundas, President, the Canadian Camping Association (CCA). “As the trees grow under the campers’ continuing care so does their appreciation and concern for our environment.”
“ChariTree grew out of my wish to help children and the world,” says Koehle Jones.
When children receive a Wish Tree, they get to plant it and make a wish for the world. Every time they return to visit or care for their tree they can make more wishes – for anything! They can write their wishes on 100% recycled paper and tie them to their tree or simply say their wish by their tree.
“I wish everyone would deeply understand that trees are the lungs of the earth, and we all breathe together,” says Shannon an elementary school student from West Bolton, Ontario.
“I am so proud of every child that has planted a tree in the last ten years,” said Koehle Jones. “These kids are going to be changemakers,” she continued.
“Helping a child plant a tree might seem like a small thing but imagine if all children were given an opportunity to plant a tree,” said Koehle Jones.
The ChariTree Foundation strives to give as many children as possible a tree of their own. It’s about supporting environmental education programs for children by giving kids a tree to plant at their home, camp or school that is native to their region ~ and an opportunity to connect with nature and contribute positively to the world.
Two ways you can help right now:
- Go outside and with your kids and do something to help the planet, for example, pick up a piece of garbage in a park. Share your feelings about how wonderful the world is and why it is important to take care of it.
- Grow this work with a donation.
Yes — I will donate to help kids combat climate change!
Let’s educate and empower kids so together we can create a better future for kids in Canada and around the world.
Andrea Koehle Jones