So, how did you celebrate Arbor Day yesterday?
What, you didn’t know that the 140 year-old U.S. holiday in honor of trees always falls on the last Friday in April? Don’t feel bad. According to a recent study commissioned by Timberland, a good three-quarters of all Americans are in the dark about this greenest of good-intentioned days.
Luckily, Timberland is also giving us all an easy way to make up for the slight…and help rebuild Haiti in the process.
It’s called Timberland’s Hortiscope Quiz and basically it works like this… First, visit the Hortiscope app on Timberland’s Facebook page. Next, answer a series of multiple choice questions about yourself. Finally, Timberland reveals what kind of tree best matches your personality.
Oh yeah, they’ll also plant a tree in Haiti for each person who completes the quiz by December 31, 2012 – up to 100,000 trees!
That may seem like a lot, but for Timberland, that’s just a start. The company’s been operating an expansive tree nursery project in Haiti since 2010 years, planting 1.4 million trees so far. This is a VERY big deal, as I can certainly appreciate stemming from a 1994 flight from Santo Domingo.
I was sitting in a window seat, of course, as our flight tracked west over Haiti. What I saw out the window shocked me so much that I still remember it vividly today. Acre upon acre of hills, valleys and mountains absolutely bereft of trees. It was all just stumps, dirt and rocks, as sure a sign as any of the country’s extended suffering.
No doubt, much of the timber had been carelessly removed for greedy commercial purposes, but the bigger picture here is all about poverty; about people who simply need wood for cooking, heat and homes…but never thought enough about re-planting.
Timberland is helping to reverse Haiti’s deforestation in a big, BIG way, and in turn, improving the country’s ability to feed itself. The company has eight nurseries run by volunteer farmers in the Gonaives region along Haiti’s northwest coast. The benefits to the country, in terms of improved soil, better crop yields, employment and optimism (a rare commodity here), can be seen in the featured video above.
If you’ve ever been to Haiti, or seen the country’s ravaged countryside while flying to or from some other more paradisiacal part of the Caribbean, it’s enough to make this particular Arbor Day a very special one, indeed.