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Because what has happened to women over centuries has had a specific impact and requires specific attention and support to overcome and transmute. Feminine intelligence and consciousness is different to that of the masculine - it has profound value and its own unique capacities - most of which have been negated, contained, conditioned, suppressed or severely abused. We are working with women to collectively remember what we once knew, to tap into who and what we really are and to do what's needed to regain the interconnectedness that is the natural state of our awareness, so that we can bring through solutions and clarity that can support the turning. Too much of what is available through women, has simply been sat on for centuries - to the detriment of all.
Something else becomes possible when women gather with conscious awareness of their receptive capacities - just as something unique comes through the collective masculine. Much healing can be done together. Much healing also needs to be done within the crucibles of our own genders.
One of the most important questions and one of the least easy to answer! The best way we can offer for you to do that, is to look in the Forest of Dreams for women in your area and then to seek them in the Forum. We can understand how the facebook counter pins are frustratingly tantalizing when you can't find them! We were exploring how to show the existing network. They may come down...
Better yet, start your own Grove by reaching out to women in your own community. As the web site evolves, we intend to find more and more ways of making this easy. Right now we are a bit hampered by technology, privacy issues and funds! If you have creative ideas, please do let us know!
It's a term to describe the de-conditioning process - or the dropping of the belief systems and behaviors that have held us all tamped down, tamed and so much less than we really are. When we can drop from separation into unity consciousness with all of nature around us, we have access to a vast intelligence that can inform everything we are and do. That intelligence serves life with every breath it takes - and we are working towards the emergence of a human culture that operates with and through relationship with nature and the wild, as something to respect and protect and revere as the greater part of ourselves.
We deeply value the men that support TreeSisters - specifically for understanding the need for women to be together within a healing and redefining process. Thank you for understanding that we are not 'anti' men. If you can feel what we are trying to create and offer, then we invite you to feel in your heart what it is that you would feel most powerful about contributing to or through us. There are many ways to offer one’s gifts.
We ask everyone to fund trees whether through us or anyone else, and to take whatever action you can on behalf of the environment. Specifically, we would love your help to spread the invitation of TreeSisters to all women you know - to help us grow our presence through any connections that you can make whether organizational or personal. Every gesture helps.
Please know that the TreeSisters Map of 5 Choices is for everyone as an invitation to come back into balance and that the Reinstating the Feminine workshop is a deep dive for men and women. Also, that our seasonal donor retreats are also for everyone.
From September 22nd 2016 and the launch of the new web site and the Million Trees Campaign, all monthly membership donation funds are now being split 80/20. 80% of all funds raised through monthly donations go directly (split in equal proportion) to our four tree beneficiaries in Brazil, India, Kenya and Madagascar. The remaining 20% helps fund the unique nature based feminine leadership and empowerment programmes, courses, resources, tools and ongoing outreach, network growth and support - and contributes towards organisational costs.
Where possible - 20% of all funds raised through courses also go directly to the trees and 80% funds core costs. We aim ultimately to be able to cover all core costs through funds that we raise through the fee based educational and empowerment services (see Grow page) that we provide as part of our mission delivery and are working towards that goal. Meantime, we seek grants, sponsorship and philanthropic support to cover the bulk of our core costs.
Prior to the million tree campaign, funds generated through monthly and larger philanthropic donations have been covering organisational and network growth and development - with £1K per month funding Agro-Forestry in India (1000 trees per month) and since partnering with Eden Projects in 2015, 20% of income from TreeSisters on-line courses have been funding significant mangrove restoration in Madagascar.
We plant trees to restore ecosystems and livelihoods whilst increasing protection against the extremes of climate change in multiple regions of the tropical forest belt. We do this in ways that recreate and restore natural forest ecosystems using indigenous species, fostering local knowledge and skills, and promoting women's participation. We strive to do it intelligently, appropriately, respectfully and successfully.
Forests play a vital role in the hydrological cycles of our world, sequester the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is driving climate change and provide the most biodiverse regions on earth. When trees are removed, vibrant ecosystems are often overfarmed, eroded and rendered infertile in a cascade effect that is mirrored with social decline, grinding poverty and climate extremes.
Reforestation can rapidly reverse these trends, stabilizing and nourishing the soils, restoring watersheds, revitalizing dry springs and providing good quality water to large populations living downstream.
We are focusing on four primary environmental goals:
1. Protection and expansion of Intact Forest Landscapes
2. Restoration and protection of watersheds
3. Controlling soil erosion (as extreme weather and deforestation cause run off)
4. Restoring topsoil and land fertility
And two primary socio-economic goals:
1. Improving community livelihoods and forest interdependence
2. Fostering women's participation, empowerment and incomes
(Note - the term 'reforestation strategy' includes (from a technical perspective) the broader activities of forest restoration, afforestation and re-greening of drylands)
Our core focus is the tropical forest belt, located largely between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn
1. We focus primarily on regions where urgent forest restoration or conservation can reduce or help prevent further damage to the last frontiers of our remaining Intact Forests Landscapes. These remaining ancient forests are invaluable sanctuaries, with an amazing complexity of Life (biodiversity and ecological processes).
2. We work to restore degraded forests with a broader goal in mind, such as creating corridors connecting protected areas and/or intact forests landscapes.
3. We consider afforestation (tree planting in areas that have never been forested) where serious soil and land degradation compounded by water scarcity severely impact life and threaten nearby ecosystems. Planting where survival rates are high, where it increases resilience to climate change and brings significant ecological and social benefit (without negative impacts) can be both possible and desirable.
4. We look for countries that are the lowest performers on IUCN's gender and environment index (meaning the worst treatment of women)
We are currently looking at projects in Nepal, Cameroon, Costa Rica, the Congo and Haiti. We are following leads and exploring widely within our overarching reforestation strategy
There are innovative and creative reforestation projects out there, that are looking to support multiple levels of both human and ecological healing simultaneously. We seek to partner with exemplary initiatives that fit our reforestation strategy.
To achieve the environmental goals set in our reforestation strategy, we pay a particular attention to the following projects:
1. Forest restoration in the vicinity of Intact Forest Landscapes or protected areas (green belt, buffer zones, forest corridors within fragmented forest ecosystems), in Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests, as well as Mangroves.
2. Conservation of Intact Forest Landscapes (types as above).
3. Emergency tree planting (when appropriate) and/or re-greening with assisted natural regeneration, restoring productivity by adding trees (agro-forestry, tree planting on farms, framework planting), in Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands and deserts and xeric shrublands ecoregions, that are at risks of deforestation, land degradation and desertification.
To achieve the socio-economic goals set in our strategy, we are particularly interested in projects that:
1. Benefit the nearby communities.
a. For instance, the projects that utilize agro-forestry to bring intercropping and tree husbandry into agriculture (oil, nuts, pepper etc)
b. Lower vulnerability to climate variability (floods, storm surge, landslide exposure)
c. Improve surrounding activities or small-scale forest use. For instance, fishing, gathering (honey, medicinal plants), hunting, agricultural production, water quality, customary activities)
2. Integrate the communities:
a. Grow community forests that focus community responsibility, ownership and pride
b. Engage multiple sectors of society
c. Focus on empowering women and redressing gender equality
3. Do not have huge corporate support - but that pass our due-diligence process
When it comes to looking at an individual project and deciding whether to take them on as one of our beneficiaries, we follow a thorough three-step due diligence process.
1. Does the project match our strategy?
We start by asking whether the project is in line with our overall strategy: Is it a reforestation or forest conservation project with particular emphasis on restoring degraded soil and maintaining watersheds? Does it involve the local community and empower women? Does it lie within the countries we have identified as priority?
2. Does it match our sustainable reforestation approach?
What type of trees are they planting and why (are they native species)? How do they take care of them until maturity? What are the survival rates of these trees? Whose land are they planted upon?
3. What are the projects standards around governance, accountability and finances?
Here we want to ensure that the organization is sustainable, well-managed and has an absolutely clean track record. We look at their finances, budget, and audited accounts. We ask questions about staffing, monitoring and evaluation. We also look at the “price per tree” to understand what is included in it.
When the organization has matched our requirements, we sign a memorandum of understanding and start sending them TreeSisters contributions on a quarterly basis.
The cost per tree varies widely between different reforestation projects. For instance with our current projects a single tree costs £1 in India, £0.2 in Kenya, $0.1 in Madagascar and $0.77 in Brazil - due to many different factors such as -
1. the species being planted and levels of care needed to germinate and grow it.
2. whether volunteers or paid employees are growing, planting and protecting the trees
3. country cost of living and therefore costs of all planting materials and wages
4. whether the land to be planted needs significant preparation
5. survival of the saplings if threatened by flood, drought, disease and replanting costs
6. additional installations like drip irrigation infrastructure to ensure survival.
7. protection, monitoring and evaluation costs and complexity
8. training programs
9. health and education programs that are often combined with tree planting
10. issues of land ownership and governance, such as securing the rights of the land
- We choose our projects based upon our strategy and due diligence process not based on the cost of planting a tree.
- We strive to plant as many trees as possible, but also recognize the need to support a wide variety of projects, with their ensuing variety of costs in order to have as great an impact as possible in as many ecosystems
For more in depth information on each of these topics, please see the reforestation section in the blog.
Our beneficiaries have asked to be funded every quarter, so funds are aggregated monthly and sent seasonally.
Saplings require water for strong root growth and so planting times depend upon the rains in each country.
In Southern India where the monsoons have failed now and they rely on intermittent cyclones, all planting happens as soon as the rain comes which is generally between October and February (often only December and January)
In Brazil where there are two wetter phases, planting can happen either in April-June (with the saplings grown in November and December) or the other way around with the saplings planted earlier in the year and planted out in November and December.
In Kenya there are also two wetter phases - October to December and March through June. These are when the saplings are handed out and planting happens.
In Madagascar the rainy season is long - from November to April and the planting of mangrove propagules happens throughout this time (and replanting if there has been serious crab predation on young trees) mangrove seeds do not require nurseries - simply collecting and then planting when the ground has been cleared and prepared for them.
We fund the organisations who work with the communities directly. The communities do their own planting - and who actually plants, differs between all our projects. Mostly it is the paid male villagers who plant in Brazil, it is men, women and many children in Kenya with schools projects involved, it's farmers in India and it's all the villagers (mostly women) that are employed and paid by Eden in Madagascar.
Please read the FAQ regarding our Due Diligence process and you'll see that we only choose projects with rigorous accountability, high survival rates (as much as can be achieved through good practice - given severe climate instability in all areas - all have replanting processes in place) and ongoing monitoring and reporting (high UK charitable standards of protection of UK tax payers money to international beneficiaries) The processes vary between projects and forest type - some are more rudimentary (for mangrove forests which thrive and reseed extremely fast) and some more complex (agro-forestry in India requiring drip irrigation to ensure survival).
Again, this is part of the training that the communities go through with the organisations supporting them to do their own protection, replanting where needed, and monitoring - and depending upon each project (they all differ) members of the organisations visit to audit, and there are also external parties who periodically evaluate and help to improve processes. We are due to receive yearly reports from each organisation that we will then share on the respective tree project pages of the web site . We're newly in relationship with Eden, WeForest and ITF so have yet to get our first reports from them.
Yes. We're raising what will be dependable quarterly influxes of funding for their capacity building. Our first four beneficiaries have all requested funding every three months.
Yes - very specific standards that take months of discussion and exploration (including external verifications from 3rd parties) to assess suitability environmentally, socially and organisationally. Please see the FAQ's on Due Diligence and Strategy.
We work with organisations who are trying to plant as many trees as possible, as well as possible so that survival rates are as high as they can be. We do not set goals for them, we set goals for ourselves to try to get them the most support that we can, and the they report on their progress.
Discover yourself within a sisterhood committed to the restoration of our forests and the reclamation of our full feminine selves.
Meet the Board of Trustees, the core team and the vital volunteers who are working hard to ground this vision and mission into realityREAD MORE
Read about our extraordinary tropical reforestation partners as the TreeSisters network funds restoration in Brazil, India, Kenya and MadagascarREAD MORE
Enjoy a walk-through of our development over the last few years as we've grown from seed, to seedling, to sapling, to....READ MORE