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Let your legacy grow with trees and change the world around us

We are delighted and so grateful to share this blog by Marita, a dedicated fundraiser and supporter of TreeSisters. Marita recently marked her fiftieth birthday and, rather than traditional gifts, asked her friends and family to contribute towards planting a forest. In the following piece, she recounts her personal journey and reflects on the profound impact of connecting with nature.


 

Marita and friends celebrating at her Colombian-themed 50th birthday


Fifty years ago, I began my journey in Colombia, where I embraced the wonders of nature as the only white child in a picturesque village surrounded by coffee plantations and mountains. Nature became my playground, shaping my early years in profound ways. However, at the age of six, my family relocated to the Netherlands, and my natural playground was exchanged for school desks and a confined garden. Despite this shift, my connection to nature remained strong. 


After completing my studies, I embarked on a transformative journey back to South America alongside my mother, a tour guide in Ecuador.


During our travels, we encountered an indigenous man known as 'the voice of the rainforest', unjustly imprisoned. It took six weeks of advocacy to secure his release, and our subsequent journey deep into the rainforest revealed invaluable lessons about the importance of roots, ancestral honor, and the pursuit of being a good ancestor.


For me, being a good ancestor entails contributing as a storyteller to narratives of change. This conviction was reinforced after experiencing burnout in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Reflecting on my journey, I realized that true resilience isn't solely found in therapy but also in reconnecting with the natural world.


Driven by this realization, I embarked on a collaborative project with an artist, Karel Overbeek, to transform my backyard into a biodiverse paradise involving youth from foster care, grieving friends, neighbors, and family. This endeavor not only facilitated my recovery but also underscored the transformative power of nature in healing.


Inspired by this experience, I decided to mark my fiftieth birthday by requesting a forest. Thanks to the generosity of my loved ones, we organized a Colombian-themed celebration, raising funds for the Treesisters' Colombian project. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of discussing the importance of legacy and environmental stewardship with the TreeSisters board, reinforcing the idea that our actions today can shape a greener tomorrow.


Let us embrace the power of trees to nurture our legacy and catalyze positive change in the world around us. Together, we can sow the seeds of a brighter future rooted in reverence for nature and commitment to collective well-being. 





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