This is a guest post from SVN News
This week marked the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and, while many people have bounced back, the land they live on is still struggling. Most of the recovery dollars were dedicated to repairing structures or conducting environmental research, but the vast tropical cyclone destroyed 350,000,000 trees and thousands of acres of wetlands, according to Restore the Earth Foundation.
That nonprofit group is finding its own source for fundraising dollars, by leaning on corporate partnerships, explained founder P.J. Marshall.
“What we have actually experienced is finding ways to bypass the gridlock of government and find corporate and foundation and individual philanthropic funding to bring down to the Coast,” she stated.
One way Restore the Earth raises money and volunteer support is through their EKOvoluntourism program, which offers one- to five-day programs for corporations looking for volunteer or team building opportunities. Corporations such as Wells Fargo and Clif Bar, among others, have participated. So far, Restore the Earth has reforested 30,000 acres along the Gulf Coast.
Marshall said that because of all the vegetation destroyed by Katrina, an area the size of a football field is lost from the wetlands every hour. Trees such as oak and cypress are also struggling to regrow naturally. Without human intervention, Marshall said, it would take 100 years for the trees to recover, and they are trees that many of the native animals count on for survival.
Marshall declared that it’s important to have people engaged in the restoration.
“I think what happens is we all get really busy, and we don’t recognize where some of our critical resources come from.”
Marshall said Hurricane Katrina caused the greatest forestry disaster in U.S. history, destroying resources necessary to the health and survival of the Gulf.
Individuals can get involved in Restore the Earth’s programs through their website at RestoreTheEarth.org.
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