Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thanking Our Donors for Planting the Roots of Birthright America

When it came time for Birthright America to create donor recognition societies, it seemed only natural to turn to the many exotic and impressive trees found in America's national forests and parks to find inspiration for the names of those societies.

I turned first to my own memories (and photographs) of my family's visits to Washington and California...

Then we researched some of the most rare and impressive trees that can be found in America's national forests, preserves and parks to select the names for the rest of the societies.   Since Birthright America was founded in Florida, with many of our initial donors coming from this state, it also seemed appropriate to have the Mangrove Society represent those early supporters.

Birthright America eventually plans to take students to parks all around the country, so we wanted to be sure to represent trees from a wide variety of places throughout America, so you will find trees found near volcanoes in Hawaii and from a preserve in South Carolina among our named societies.

Finally, since part of our mission is to educate students while providing them with the opportunity to explore their national parks, the chance to provide some interesting facts and information to Birthright America's donors was the final factor considered when selecting each name.

So, without any further ado, a look at the trees inspiring the donor recognition societies:

Mangrove Society: 

Known for offering the first line of protection during a hurricane, mangroves can be found throughout Florida, especially in Everglades National Park.

Sitka Spruce Society:

The staggering Sitka Spruce trees love the damp and mild climate of the Pacific Northwest, making the Hoh Rain Forest the perfect home for them.

'Ohi'a Society:

The 'Ohi'a Lehua (pronunciation can be found here) tree has particular importance in Hawaii and has recently become vulnerable to a fast spreading disease in the past few years.

Education is essential in helping to protect these colorful trees that are usually the first to grow on new lava flows.

Laurel Oaks Society:

Congaree National Preserve is the home of many champions, the largest known tree of its species, including the Laurel Oak.

Lodgepole Pines Society:  

The most common tree found in Yellowstone National Park, the destination for Birthright America's inaugural trip in June of 2018, the lodgepole pine thrives in the sun.

Bristlecone Pines Society:

Considered among the oldest trees on earth, the ones found in Great Basin National Park in Nevada are over 3,000 years old!

Sequoias Society:

Our trip to Yosemite and the iconic California "tunnel tree," in Mariposa Grove, home to the 1800 year old Grizzly Giant, among hundreds of sequoias, made a lasting impression.

Redwoods Society: 

Long considered the most awe-inspiring of the many trees found in national forests, the Redwood can be damaged by "too much love."  Still, appreciating this majestic tree in a way that also preserves it is an experience to be treasured.

Here's to the many donors who are planting the roots that will enable Birthright America to grow and flourish.  Donor Recognition Societies are just one way we can show our gratitude, which is as immense as a champion sequoia.

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