Nature and urban spaces are connected. Without trees and other plants around, it can cause a lot of harm to people’s well being and the environment.
“Forestr.org is a non-profit dedicated to the cleaning of our public spaces, the planting of trees, and the maintaining of those spaces/trees long into the future,” CEO Yonaton Hardisty explained. “We began as a passion project to help interest people in reforesting our urban environments.”
The group aims to create green job opportunities and promote long-term economies of scale focused on ecological sustainability. Forestr developed an eco-economy in which those who help clean and plant are paid $15 per hour. Of course, the group also welcomes volunteer hours.
“I found out about the organization because it’s my friend’s family’s. She invited me to pick up trash one weekend and I ended up enjoying it. Since then, I’ve been picking up trash most Saturdays in places around Castro Valley,” said junior Brooke Eickmann. “I like the feeling of helping the environment, knowing I’m helping make a difference.”
In mid-2020, the Forestr family partnered with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to adopt a highway, kicking off an Adopt-A-Highway project.
“Our public lands partner, Caltrans, does require that our crew members be 16 years or older for working on their lands. Besides that, though, we have no limitations on getting involved,” said Hardisty.
Every Saturday at noon to 2 p.m., “our cleaning crews meet throughout the Castro Valley area. The weekend crews focus on cleaning our spaces. While the larger events will be open to the public and focusing on the planting of trees (and related greenery),” Hardisty said. Helmets, gloves, bags, and safety vests are available for those that need them.
Recently they held an Earth Day event on April 24. to clean along 580 West, Center Street and up to the Castro Valley Boulevard green spaces.
“ I really enjoyed the Earth Day event. Usually when we pick up trash there’s four of us, but this was a larger group and we were able to get more trash from a larger area,” Eickmann remarked.
The Forestr team intends to initiate reforestation by planting new trees in both public and private areas. The group also wants to develop long-term maintenance plans in spans of five, ten, and 15 years for each planting event. This coming June, there will be a foresting event. Hopefully, these planting projects will improve the community’s long-term deep growth ecosystem.To support a common goal of improving our community’s environment and providing more sustainable jobs in the future, donate to forestr.org/donations/general-donations. All of the gifts will go directly to cleaning the Earth and planting trees, thus greening the Earth.