Thursday April 1, 1:30 pm ET
Thanks to Lady for the article!
– – –
Launch Effort to Reforest Nearly 60,000 Acres of California Ravaged by Wildfires
$1 Million Donation Supports Volunteer Efforts in 300 Local Events to Help Communities Become and Remain Fire Resistant LOS ANGELES, April 1 /PRNewswire/ — With $1 million in seed money from The Home Depot® and support from thousands of company and community volunteers, fire-ravaged areas of Southern California will begin to see recovery take root this year. Home Depot and environmental leaders Earth Day Network, TreePeople, Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the Earth Communications Office (ECO) today launched the California Wildfire Recovery Project and called for thousands of volunteers to participate in more than 300 local events to help mitigate environmental fire hazards and plant thousands of trees over the next several months.
“While the wildfires that swept through Southern California last year may seem like a distant memory, the environmental rebuilding phase is just about to begin,” said Bruce Merino, president of The Home Depot Western Division. “Working with our community partners, The Home Depot is taking an active role in the effort to reforest Southern California through both financial and volunteer support.”
The Home Depot created the California Wildfire Recovery Project in partnership with such organizations as Earth Day Network, TreePeople, SCA and ECO. With the goal of reforesting nearly 60,000 acres of land destroyed, the California Wildfire Recovery Project is targeting the most highly affected areas in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego regions.
“Earth Day Network is proud to be a part of this important effort to help the people of Southern California rebuild their lives and communities following last year’s devastating fires,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “We are grateful to Home Depot for their generosity and to our partners for their commitment to the Project.”
At a press conference today announcing the kick-off of this initiative, the organizations noted the importance of volunteer involvement to the effort. With more than 300 local community service events taking place throughout Southern California, there are numerous volunteer opportunities for people of all ages. For information on specific volunteer events and how to sign-up, please visit www.thesca.org/wildfire_recovery.cfm or www.treepeople.org.
“The California wildfires caused $10 billion in property damage, claimed 22 lives and forced many people out of their homes,” said Terry Tamminen, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. “We need the same community support and volunteerism that helped meet last year’s needs as we begin to replant today. Private lands left unrestored raise potential long-term effects in terms of erosion, pollution and lost habitats.”
Joining Terry Tamminen and other local officials at today’s kick-off event were ECO celebrity board members and long-time environmental activists Ed Begley, Jr., Joshua Jackson, Mimi Rogers and Donna Mills — all of whom were in attendance to help recognize the significant contributions of Home Depot and the environmental organizations that are helping to restore the damaged areas throughout Southern California. In addition, teachers, students and families from Kimbark Elementary attended and participated in the California Wildfire Recovery Project event. Located in San Bernardino at the base of the El Cajon Pass, Kimbark Elementary was directly affected by the wildfires as seven school families lost their homes and many students and their families were displaced due to smoke. At the ceremony, Kimbark students planted tree seeds that will ultimately be replanted as part of the reforesting effort in their local neighborhood.
“Our school and our entire community were severely impacted by the wildfires,” said David Goodward, a teacher at Kimbark Elementary School. “Our school was shut down for more than a week while firefighters fought to save our neighborhood. A number of children lost their homes to the fires and the floods that followed. It’s why our students want to learn about replanting and why they want to contribute to the restoration of the forests that surround our community. To them, this is very personal.”
About California Wildfire Recovery Project
The California Wildfire Recovery Project is a long-term commitment to reforest the nearly 60,000 acres of land destroyed as a result of the 2003 Southern California wildfires. Made possible through a $1 million donation by The Home Depot, the California Wildfire Recovery Project teams Earth Day Network with community organizations, including the Student Conservation Association, the TreePeople and the Earth Communications Office, to begin to replant trees and vegetation that were lost in the devastation. Through more than 300 separate volunteer-driven events taking place in 2004, the California Wildfire Recovery Project will help recovery take root in the California Southland, targeting the most highly-effected areas in the Los Angeles-San Bernardino-San Diego region.
For more information, contact: Ken Hooper of Ketchum, +1-415-215-5421, or Stephanie Martin of The Home Depot, +1-714-585-5594.