A lasting, thoughtful, and unique gift for any occasion
Cards, flowers, and chocolates always make great gifts, and it is often the standard to give at least one of these for various gift-giving occasions. Even during the holidays, product-oriented companies place a heavy emphasis on giving gifts and acquiring more things. Kim Isley took note of this, and in 2006, started to consider a new alternative to commercialized presents by thinking green.
A former English and Psychology teacher turned entrepreneur, Kim was searching for ways she could do more as an environmental steward besides the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle). “I wanted to figure out what are things that I can do as one person on this planet that will make a difference,” says Kim. “What I kept seeing was to plant a tree.”
She researched more about the incredible benefits planting a single tree can have on people and the planet – from carbon sequestration to preventing soil erosion and providing homes to animals – when she also discovered that there were millions of acres of national forest land damaged by wildfires in desperate need of restoration.
Kim’s idea began to sprout as Trees for a Change. The philosophy behind the name is to change the way we think about gift-giving while also doing something more for the planet. “If we allow people to plant trees as gifts,” Kim says, “we are not only helping the earth out, but we also provide a gift-giving opportunity that’s not just more stuff. It’s an opportunity to give a gift that is thoughtful, and meaningful, and lasting.”
Kim works on a forest-by-forest basis by dealing directly with the forest service to determine which forests desperately need help. Currently, Trees for a Change is working to restore the Tahoe National Forest on the border of California and Nevada, which was ravaged by forest fires in 2013. After the trees are planted, Kim will visit each tree to take a picture and create a map to show customers what their tree looks like and where they can find it.
11 years later, Trees for a Change has planted 34,364 trees in national forests all over the country. The principle behind Trees for a Change is to provide a new value to customers for both happy occasions and memorial services. Kim hopes that the gift of a living tree provides solace for those who have lost a loved one. Many of her customers plan trips to visit their trees or the trees memorializing their loved one.
If you are interested in giving the gift of a tree, you can find more information on Kim’s website, TreesforaChange.com, as well as where you can find your tree once it is planted.