Trees are essential to human life. The environmental, psychological, social, and economic benefits they have on a community are hard to overstate. When neighborhoods are wiped out by disaster, replanting lost trees is a unique and powerful way to participate in the recovery and relief process.
A cool organization called RETREET plants trees and helps revive these communities, and we want to acknowledge their greatness!
RETREET is a public charity that provides disaster relief by engaging communities to make neighborhoods feel like home again. When disaster strikes, up to 75% of the trees are stripped away. RETREET engages communities to plant new trees by bringing together locals, volunteers, corporations, and state, regional, and national agencies.
Planting trees is a hands-on exercise that anyone can be taught easily. This knowledge is something that stays with one for a lifetime, encouraging those who have it to become more connected with and aware of the environment around them. Planting trees is powerful because it’s a practice that allows one person’s actions to impact generations to come.
As well as rebuilding urban forests, RETREET places a large emphasis on the use of bicycles as a means of transportation during its programming. Bicycles lower stress and increase the health of the riders and the environment. The encouragement of cycling instead of driving in motor vehicles has a positive effect that we have witnessed in communities all over the globe.
Founder Grady McGahan started RETREET after the community of Bastrop, TX, was destroyed by a fire that burned over 34,000 acres of forest, including large parts of Bastrop State Park and The Lost Pines Forest. The fire also destroyed 1,645 homes.
McGahan and his friends decided that they needed to get people moving and motivated to plant trees and replace them for the community residents who were struggling to put their lives back together. After planting new trees to replace the burned forest, their team then took to bicycles, riding through the countryside exploring the town’s history. That’s how RETREET was born.
"We form teams of strangers from all walks of life to complete a task that is highly beneficial to everyone involved. We get to know the people we are helping. We step into their world and see their long road to recovery. Then, we help them down that path. We are thankful for our own blessings and fulfilled by the thanks we receive for the work we do. Being on RETREET is a profoundly invigorating and gratifying experience. It is unforgettable and addictive. RETREETers head home tired, sore, accomplished, and content," explains McGahan.
To date, RETREET has planted 4,677 trees in 14 communities across North America. Click here to see the impact that RETREET has had in these communities.
Great job RETREET you're awesome!
Let’s start things off with a small bit of advice. Start using your travel journal before your trip.
Seriously, you’ll realise how important it is, when you are looking back at your adventures, to record even the slightest bit of planning to ensure that your trips have meaning and purpose.
Before all the memories and ticket stubs begin to flood the pages of your journal, make a list of things you want to see, food you want to try, or dedicate a page to language phrases you can use on the daily.
Fresh out of university after four years studying ecology, zoology and conservation genetics, I was well and truly ready for an adventure.
I wanted to book a plane ticket, pack my bags and head out the door as soon as possible.
But two things were stopping me. Firstly, money. Spending four years studying doesn’t mean you’re exactly raking in the cash. Secondly, when I got back and started looking for jobs, what would an employer think of a recent lengthy, self-indulgent holiday?
Then a solution came to me:
Why not combine some adventurous traveling with work experience?
In THE POWER OF MYTH by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers (1988), Campbell states that “Chief Seattle was one of the last spokesmen of the Paleolithic moral order. In about 1852, the United States Government inquired about buying the tribal lands for the arriving people of the United States.”
“The President in Washington sends word he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?”
- Chief Seattle