RETREET redefines disaster relief by engaging communities to replant lost trees.
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.95
Since riding bicycles is taboo for women in Syria, a group of their German counterparts is teaching recent refugees how to navigate the streets on two wheels. Not only are these women experiencing a newfound freedom of movement, they're also taking an important step towards becoming a local. Inspiring!
TEACHING SYRIAN REFUGEES HOW TO CYCLE (article)
Speaking of Germany, that country has taken an idea pioneered in The Netherlands and Denmark and run with it, commencing construction of its first bicycle autobahn. Spanning over 60 miles, the new cycling superhighway will connect 10 western cities and 4 universities, taking an expected 50,000 cars off of the road daily. Sounds like heaven.
THE BICYCLE AUTOBAHN (article)
Many studies have shown the multitude of benefits that trees bring to the adult mind, but a new study out of the University of Nebraska and Troy University has found that trees enhance children's brains too. Read about how some time in the park can impact a child's executive functioning skills at the link below.
TREES ENHANCE CHILDREN'S BRAINS (article)
OKC RETREET March 28+29, 2015
We held our first conversation about OKC RETREET eighteen months ago, after our partners at Texas A&M Forest Service suggested we reach out to Oklahoma Forestry Services to setup a planting in the wake of an EF5 tornado struck Moore on May 20, 2013. The devastation had made international news: 24 lives lost, 1,150 homes destroyed, 4,000 trees swept away, and an estimated $2 billion in total damages. RETREET was eager to help our neighbors and excited to work in a new state.
Moore needed some time to heal, so we decided to wait a year, until the next planting season. In Charlotte, North Carolina, at the 2014 Partners in Community Forestry Conference last November, our Executive Director sat down with representatives of Oklahoma Forestry Services and Arbor Day Foundation to discuss the need for trees in Moore. It was the start of an amazing partnership. Together, we decided that both OKC RETREET and Oklahoma Community Tree Recovery Campaign, a newly launched project of Arbor Day Foundation, would take place the closing weekend of Oklahoma Arbor Week. Our national partner ACTrees suggested we reach out to Tree Bank Foundation, well-respected local nonprofit organization that would be a great resource for both events.
With dates selected and a team of partners at hand, RETREET set out to raise funds for the event and collaborate with local organizations. Once again, ArborGen offered to provide $2,500 towards the purchase of trees, allowing us to offer larger specimens to each family. JCPenney sent $2,000 in support of general operations and The Home Depotapproved a grant request for $1,350 of supplies, including mulch, shovels, pruners, gloves, pickaxes, and coolers. Hampton Inn & Suites gave generously reduced rates to our RETREETers.
Enthusiasm for OKC RETREET at the local level was palpable. Numerous entities, including City of Moore and SERVE MOORE wanted to be involved, and a whole host of volunteers offered to come out to plant trees. At the beginning of March, notifications were sent to residents of Moore regarding the availability of trees and, within three weeks, 193 requests were received, 2.5 times the 80 requests we expected to be able to fulfill. OKIE was contacted two weeks before the plantings so that all utilities could be marked and a representative from Oklahoma Forestry Services and its partners visited with each recipient thereafter to ensure that every tree would be planted in the right place.
Two days before OKC RETREET was set to begin, another tornado hit Moore. Though much less powerful than the previous one, enough damage was done that relief efforts had to begin all over again. Trees and RETREETers were en route and everything was lined up for the weekend. It was up to the City of Moore to decide whether or not to proceed.
After serious consideration, and with teams of volunteers cleaning up debris in multiple neighborhoods, the locals resolved to see OKC RETREET come to fruition and not allow the new storm to postpone our plans. Recovery efforts from one tornado would occur alongside relief efforts from another. #MooreStrong!
On March 28, 2015, a beautiful Saturday afternoon, 22 RETREETers were joined by 50 local volunteers in Veterans' Memorial Park. After a short welcome from city representatives, a tree planting demonstration, and lunch provided by Moore Beautiful, the assembly broke into small groups and planted a total of 162 trees in Moore, an even mix of 15-gallon Shumard Oaks and 7-gallon Redbuds, Oklahoma's state tree. The locations included Veterans' Memorial Park, the Community Renewal Center, and 78 home sites. All plantings were completed within 7 hours; a truly inspirational effort. Volunteers converged on the Community Renewal Center for a delicious dinner following the planting, sponsored by Silver Star Construction and whipped up by RETREET's own Daniel Avazpour.
Several TV stations showed up to cover the event and, that evening, while RETREETers enjoyed the nightlife of Bricktown, our story ran on most major networks in OKC. Over the following two days, affiliate stations all over the country picked it up.
Sunday morning, RETREETers gathered at Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. They were given a personal tour of the grounds by Oklahoma Forestry Services and then taken through the museum. After that sobering experience, the group went for a bike ride along the Oklahoma River and on some of its great bike paths. It was a perfect ending to a fulfilling and fantastic weekend.
RETREET would like to thank everyone who was involved with OKC RETREET in any way. We look forward to our next outing in the area and hope to return this fall. To help us plant more trees in Moore, consider SPROUTING A TREE!
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.52
One year of SS&T is in the books! We hope you have been enjoying our posts and continue to do so.
1) Urban Releaf is on an inspiring mission to plant trees across Oakland, CA, and engage the community along the way;
2) Ferrari partner Pininfarina Fuoriserie has created an $11,000 electric fixie, a 1930s era classic coated in woven leather and walnut;
3) Harley-Davidson and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up to plant 50 million trees across the globe by 2025;
4) University of Michigan spent $400,000 to move a centuries-old historic oak tree 100 yards, employing some impressive technology to get the job done.
Enjoy these great stories! Remember, if you come across something you think we should share, send it along!
URBAN RELEAF PLANTS TREES IN OAKLAND (film)
FERRARI PARTNER CREATES $11,000 ELECTRIC BICYCLE (photos)
HARLEY-DAVIDSON TO PLANT 50 MILLION TREES (article)
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SPENDS $400K TO MOVE OLD TREE (audio)
FORT COLLINS RETREET II Memorial Day Weekend 2014
Upon our return from Fort Collins and with 54 trees in the ground in Evans, we want to take a moment to thank all of our partners in the project. Your support greatly impacts our ability to get the job done. THANK YOU!
Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery donated 16 large oaks, one for every home, and worked with our budget to provide the rest of the trees. Such quality stock! Special thanks to Dan and Louie.
Hitch and the folks at Fort Collins Tree Care helped us spot where each tree should go and delivered everything to each home before the RETREET began. You guys are the best!
Colorado Park and Wildlife donated the use of Soldier Canyon Picnic Area in Lory State Park for the welcome dinner and set us up with a generator so the band could rock the valley. Whole Foods hooked us up with dinner. That was a great night!
Matt at Odell Brewing Co gave us a fantastic tour of their facility and wetted our whistles with numerous complementary beers. A tasty treat, to say the least!
The Home Depot gave us all the mulch we needed for planting day.
RECOVER again supplied their uniquely comfortable, durable, and upcycled shirts, giving our group an unmistakable look. Your shirts rock!