It’s time for another installment of Keeping Up with the Dundees. Last month, we saw Lauren and Gracie help endangered and orphaned animals through their campaign “Save Them All.” This month’s campaign is taking their efforts a step further and helping nature at large.
“Find Your Forest” is an expansion of another campaign, “10,000 Trees,” for which their nonprofit organization, Small Acts Big Change™ (SABC), seeks to plant 10,000 trees by December 31, 2022. From their neighborhood to rainforests in South America, they have already helped to plant 1,700 trees since 2012, but, rather than just building new forestscapes, the Dundees want to inspire people worldwide to appreciate and preserve the trees that already exist, as well. Lauren explains it best by equating our relationship with forests to taking responsibility and interest in the earth’s well-being and survival. “The objective is to get people to become invested in saving the trees that are already growing and finding joy in the trees that are already planted everywhere. Yes, ‘Find Your Forest’ is about planting more trees, [but] it is also about saving trees, teaching people about the importance and joy of trees and forests, and encouraging people to think twice before they remove existing trees. Our goal is to get people to connect with a forest in their area and take interest and ownership in the health of that forest by saving trees, planting more trees, [and] finding a way to enjoy and connect to trees.”
The Why and How
Other than providing vast resources for wildlife, including habitat, shelter, and food, trees are a natural, cost-effective way to fight climate change, prevent flooding, reduce erosion, regulate temperature, remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the atmosphere, and clean waterways. Talk about a package deal! Although trees reap seemingly-simple benefits, Gracie explains that it is easy to make a difference even when climate issues are hard to understand. “Although climate change is an immensely complicated issue, the simple fact is that everyone can easily and immediately get involved to help our planet thrive by planting trees and saving the trees that are already planted. Every tree makes a big difference. Everyone can plant a tree.”
Trees even affect people’s moods and mindsets. Lauren and Gracie shared a really interesting study with us that found people who walked in forest settings for 15 minutes experienced less anxiety, tiredness, and anger. Spending time in nature induces happiness and relaxation—a retreat for the mind, body, and soul. While science proves trees make a difference for all living beings, how are the Dundees planning to help people connect even further with their leafy neighbors?
SABC has partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the National Forest Foundation to impact forests in the United States and formed a relationship with Trees4Australia to restore forests throughout Australia impacted by this past year’s major bushfires that destroyed 46 million acres of land. Since the pandemic is limiting in-person volunteer opportunities, SABC is asking for donations to help them source and plant tree seedlings in areas of need identified in conjunction with their partners. Every $2.50 received will plant one tree (please see below for how to donate).
For those interested in learning more about how to help forests, SABC will also be interacting with their social media following on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest with tips and projects and developing resources with their partners to maximize the impact of their campaign’s objective.
The What No Matter Who
Wondering how you can make a difference? To help SABC’s “Find Your Forest” campaign, you can donate via their website or send a check or money order to Small Acts Big Change, Find Your Forest, P.O. Box 1374, La Canada, CA 91012. Those who provide contact information with their donation, will receive a personalized, handwritten thank you card with a tax-deductible receipt from SABC.
Looking for more ways to make an impact in your everyday life? Here are even more ways to reduce your carbon footprint and support forests everywhere:
- Use less paper at every opportunity you can, including paper towels and printing paper.
- Avoid cutting down trees unless absolutely necessary. Removing a tree eliminates a home for animals and compromises defense against environmental decay.
- Plant trees and shrubs at every opportunity.
- Change the world with how you purchase. When possible, avoid buying decorative wood items and using disposable wood and paper products, such as one-time-use chopsticks or paper cups, purchase cloth diapers rather than disposable ones, and source books, newspapers, and magazines electronically instead of buying paper ones. If you need to buy paper products, look for products made from recycled paper.
- Use reusable cups and plates instead of drinking out of a paper cup or eating on a paper plate.
- Use reusable bags instead of getting paper or plastic bags when checking out at the store.
- Adopt a forest. Volunteer with local organizations to plant trees and clear trails.
- Find your forest. Enjoy and advocate for the beauty and happiness it brings you.
- Fight deforestation.
What’s Next for the Dundees?
Several times a year, SABC runs an overarching campaign over two months, so September and October are going to be full of making a difference and changing lives. Stay tuned for part one of their next adventure, which involves helping students and children in need one “suitcase” at a time.