“Zookeepers don’t just care for animals, they care for our planet and you can too.”
What is “Trees for You & Me”?
Did you know you could plant trees for polar bears? Trees for You and Me is a tree-planting conservation program created through a partnership between the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) and Polar Bears International (PBI). Both organizations recognize a mutual passion in combatting climate change and reaching to communities to aid in greening efforts. Trees for You and Me was founded by former PBI Arctic Ambassadors from the zoo community who wished to initiate a fundraising challenge to plant trees. Funds raised by local AAZK chapters and other conservationists from the communities are used in an annual granting program aimed to provide funding for tree-planting to areas of the world that have been devastated by deforestation.
How does the Tree for You and Me Grant Work?
The Trees for You and Me Grant is a forest-based carbon offset grant with funds generated by AAZK chapters hosting Trees for You and Me fundraising events! This grant furthers AAZK’s and PBI’s quest to fight climate change by asking for grant applicants that will use it for reforestation and habitat revitalization.
Local AAZK Chapters can host events to raise funds for Trees for You and Me. The funds raised will go towards the Trees for You and Me Grant administered through the American Association of Zoo Keepers called the Trees for You and Me Grant. Any community that has faced deforestation on a large scale from a natural disaster is invited to apply. The application for the Trees for You and Me grant is due by May 1, of each calendar year and will be awarded to the recipient of the Trees for You and Me grant on December 1 of each calendar year.
The Trees for You and Me Committee is composed of zoo keepers from institutions that have participated in Trees for You and Me since its inception. The Trees for You and Me Committee will review the Trees for You and Me Grant applicants and send a recommendation letter to the AAZK Grant Committee for the applicants that met the grants requirements. This will be the Trees for You and Me stamp of approval and then the AAZK Grant Committee will evaluate the applicants and choose the winner.
Trees for You and Me sets an annual goal of AAZK Chapters raising $15,000 to go towards the Trees for You and Me Grant! The Trees for You and Me Grant must go towards planting trees or a related greening effort.
How will the Campaign Work?
- AAZK will send communications about the Trees for You and Me via social media in an effort to reach out to AAZK chapters throughout the Campaign.
- Chapters will report their results to AAZK; periodic e-mails from AAZK will announce the standings.
- Chapters may follow the progress and results on the AAZK and PBI websites.
- AAZK Chapters may utilize the TFYM Donation page on the website to make a Chapter donation
- AAZK has a Trees for You and Me educational brochure for chapters to support their fundraiser at the following link:
- Following the fundraising effort, chapters will be reporting to AAZK through the chapter re-chartering process.
When will Trees For You & Me start?
The Campaign will begin February 1 of each calendar year
When will Trees For You & Me end?
The Campaign will end at midnight on November 1 of each calendar year, during Polar Bear Week. Results will be reported shortly thereafter after all the donations have been recorded by AAZK.
TFYM Checks shall be sent to AAZK by November 1:
8476 E Speedway Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85710-1728
It is very important that in the memo line of the check it is noted Donation – TFYM Results will be reported by December 1 of each calendar year when all the donations have been recorded by AAZK.
How can chapters raise and gather Campaign funds?
Each AAZK chapter can determine the way they want to raise money. Projects in the past have included bake sales, polar plunges, miniature golf events, garage sales, silent auctions, fun runs, spaghetti dinners, car washes, recycling programs, a night at a local hangout that allows a 50/50 raffle, and more. The actual cash handling procedures will be the same you follow for other campaigns for your Chapter at your institution.
Your fund raising efforts can include an educational event that invites others to take part in additional conservation behaviors that reduce . Planting trees in urban areas has distinct benefits, but the most important is that it brings people together in a green activity. Community engagement – citizens working collaboratively, through inspired action and learning, to create and realize bold visions for their common future – is a critical step in creating movement to stop our dependence on fossil fuels and stop global warming.
There is a donation page for Trees You and Me on the AAZK website so individual donations to Trees for You and Me will be credited to AAZK Chapter totals.
We invite chapters to donate during the TREEBLITZ period!!! February 1-April 1st. PBI loves people who help to plant trees and save polar bears, so they most certainly show their gratitude! The chapter that donates the most during this time will be matched by PBI up to $500!
AAZK will report on the status of the different chapters through an email sent to the AAZK Chapters, on its website and through social media.
PBI will report on the status of the different chapters on its website and through social media.
The top chapter will be awarded to the team with the most funds donated no later than Midnight November 1 to AAZK.
Polar Bears win? How do I start?
Find a group and become a champion.
- Make plans for events and strategies to raise the funds over the course of the Campaign, which officially runs from February 1 – November 1. If you are looking to coordinate your event with any of the PBI action days, please refer to the PBI Save Our Sea Ice Campaign at http://www.polarbearsintern
- International Polar Bear Day February 27
- Earth Day April 22
- Arctic Sea Ice Day July 15
- Polar Bear Week November 5-11
- Define roles and responsibilities including:
- Procedures for handling donations for your Chapter and Institution
- Reporting to AAZK during the course of the Challenge.
How will reporting work?
Each participating AAZK Chapter is responsible for following National AAZK National’s requirements for reporting on funds raised for conservation as outlined in the re-chartering packet.
How Does Planting Trees Help Polar Bears?
Polar bears are in trouble because the increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing the Earth’s temperature to rise at an alarming rate. Melting sea ice from these warming conditions is a direct threat to polar bears that depend upon the ice to hunt, breed, and den. Reducing the build-up of carbon in the atmosphere is necessary to reverse climate change. Less carbon in the atmosphere means better conditions to retain arctic sea ice and improve polar bear habitat and survival.
Trees act as “carbon sinks” that absorb CO2 from the air. They store this carbon in roots, trunks, stems, and leaves while they grow and in wood products after they’re harvested.
Conservation actions that reduce the production of greenhouse gases are the most impactful efforts to save polar bears. Planting trees is one of the few tools that we have to sequester carbon. Saving tropical rainforests is even more impactful for sequestering CO2. As an individual and group you can make difference:
- Don’t buy products with palm oil
- Purchase shade-grown coffee
- Eat less meat or purchase local meat rather than meat produced in deforested tropical rain forests
Learn more about the plight of the Polar bear. Download and print this document to provide resources for your Trees for You and Me Campaign
For More Information Contact:
Trees for You and Me:
Mary Ann Cisneros, Board Oversight, Trees for You and Me Program