What do we do?

  1. Plant-It 2020 performs two tree-planting programs: 1) the Forest Tree-Planting Program and 2) the City Tree-Planting Program. There are three types of forest tree-planting program. The first and predominant approach is reforestation (the reestablishment of forest cover) damaged by fire, beetles and other natural disasters. Our reforestation priority is for no-logging locations. Occasionally, we make exceptions for reforesting burn and other deforested locations in potential future thinning locations but we need to be fully satisfied that the overall quality of the project is very high. Our locations in the US and Canada (and sometimes Mexico) fit this criteria.

    The second tree-planting approach is afforestation (creating a stand of trees or a forest where there wasn’t any). This may serve as wind-breaks, reversing desertification, etc. our tree-planting programs in China and Niger are examples of this. Sometimes, certain Latin America and Africa programs meet this criteria.

    The third approach is agroforestry (trees are grown in or among crops to increase crop production). This is often done in Africa and sometimes Latin America. The benefits are to reduce starvation

    Contributors decide where their trees get planted from our worldwide locations list. Priority for reforestation is in no logging locations such as riparian zones and wilderness areas but we sometimes make exceptions for potential logging locations damaged by fire, flood, beetle and so forth – so long as the long-term quality of the project is excellent. Visit our tree-planting benefits page to learn about how trees specifically benefit the environment and people.

  2. We provide city tree-planting events throughout the United States and in many other countries abroad. These can be customized to some degree.
  3. Our cooking stove program allows us to fundraise and distribute fuel-efficient cooking stoves to be distributed to poor families in four Central American countries and Haiti. These cookstoves use far less wood as fuel, burn much more cleanly and some of these stoves have exhausts/chimneys.
  4. Our educational programs include the following:
    1. Ideasforus is a youth-led, award-winning, international sustainability movement that forms chapters in K-12 schools, campuses and communities across the United States and abroad. Each chapter provides participating students with training in leadership, environmental and energy education; mentoring, and professional consultation. Chapters engage in educating and introducing proven green technologies that are cost-effective and business friendly; providing environmental education programs for educational institutions, creating community environmental events, and promoting research into promising areas of technology that are practical, workable and desirable.
      Plant-It 2020 will now be promoting Ideasforus as part of our ongoing assistance to schools and communities. The two organizations may also collaborate in the future on joint reforestation projects and possibly some areas of educational outreach. To learn more about Ideasforus, please visit their website at Udeasforus.org.

    2. For forestry specialists, Plant-It 2020 periodically funds various publications that assist certified Arborists and foresters. Please click here to download one such brochure (in PDF format) created by a partnership with the Institute for Environmental Solutions.
    3. Before and during our US tree-planting events, we try to have a reputable Arborist or Forrester give a demonstration planting and lecture. Our international tree-planting events usually have long-term training of indigenous people.
    4. For the general public, we educate individuals and businesses regarding forestry, biochar and soil topics through various means. In addition, our article on 'Scams and Deceptions in the Nonprofit Reforestation Industry' also alerts contributors as to how to contribute smartly.

About Us

Founded in 1992 by the singer John Denver, Plant-It 2020 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private foundation that has set numerous benchmarks in the forestry industry along with many competitive advantages. Four of the many things that set us apart from other reforestation organizations include 1) a priority for planting in no-logging locations: unlike practically all other tree-planting groups, our priority is to plant trees in no-logging locations protected by contract with high survival rates, 2) Geographic Scope: we provide the largest number of locations worldwide for customizable city and forest tree-planting projects, and 3) Business Conduct Ethics: we subscribe to the Tree-Planting Code of Ethics as well as actively educate contributors about industry scams and deceptions.

Tree Planting Programs

Plant-It 2020 performs two types of tree planting programs:

  1. The forest tree-planting program
  2. The city tree planting program

The Forest Tree Planting Program

Key Program Points:

  • Trees planted through Plant-It 2020 are prioritized for being planted on public lands in no-logging locations.There are rare exceptions made for wildfire restoration projects in commercial areas.
  • The contributor chooses the location as to where the trees get planted from our list of locations across the United States and in many countries worldwide. Plant-It 2020 offers the largest number of locations for you to choose from of any non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • The seedlings being planted were not obtained for free or at low-cost through grants or other means. They are either purchased from tree nurseries or they were grown from purchased seed in seed beds until they have reached excellent height and health for transplanting.
  • Plant-It 2020 focuses on quality over quantity. What this means is that we are able to focus on spending what is necessary to ensure quality for each tree seedling. A major competitor for example uses a ‘dollar-per-tree’ approach and their contract has them spending $0.60 cents per tree (for every dollar they take in from the program). Now, in many US locations, sixty cents will not even cover the purchase cost of a seedling (particularly for a hardwood) – much less the various additional costs of transplanting, water, deer protection and so forth. This is a serious quality concern as the more you spend towards each seedling (to a point), the better it will be and survive.
  • The trees are two-to-four year old baby trees (called 'seedlings' or 'tree seedlings') being planted and not simply 'tree seeds'. In equatorial regions, fast growing tree species may be younger when planted as they grow up to ten times faster than those grown in Northern latitudes.
  • The trees are indigenous to the area, have a very high survival rate and if a maintenance plan is needed, one is set in place before the trees get planted.
  • There are no extra costs, fees, hidden charges, membership fees and so forth. The cost on the location page relates to one indigenous tree purchased (or grown from seed in an on-site seedbed) and planted.

Different Benefits For Different Locations:

Our reforestation programs in Africa and Latin America have a strong humanitarian focus. The forest tree-planting programs provide different benefits depending upon such things as geographical location, tree species and so forth. Our programs usually provide one or more of the following benefits:

  • Reduce human starvation by increasing crop production, and/or by providing fruits and nuts.
  • Help save an endangered species such as the Monarch Butterfly.
  • Reduce human thirst by raising the water table; and protecting the health of aquifers and rivers.
  • Bring denuded forests back to life
  • Reduce malnutrition among children by providing them with protein
  • Stop desertification (the encroachment of a desert)
  • Reduce poverty as the fruits nuts and dropped branches can be sold.
  • Reduce killer landslides as trees can anchor the soil.
  • Reduce global warming by planting fast growing trees of certain species that are fast-growing, broad-leafed, large-boled and non-harvested in equatorial regions. Soil conditions and sunlight are also important.

Be Aware: Nearly all seedling reforestation projects in the US and abroad are for commercial purposes. Much of this is performed well and benefits not only the environment but also nearby people. Sometimes, it is not performed as well as it could. Plant-It 2020 tries as hard as possible to place it’s trees in no-logging locations with a long-term survival rate. Starting in 2015, we may also reforest some US locations for fire restoration that are not protected from future harvest.

The City Tree Planting Program

Plant-It 2020 has been coordinating and organizing urban tree-planting events throughout the United States and in other countries. A sponsor, usually a business, comes to us and communicates that they desire to fund one or more city tree-planting events. We find out when and where they desire to have these events take place. The next step is for us to contact the City Forrester, Parks and Recreation Department or City Arborist to determine what tree-planting events are upcoming, their attributes and so forth. The proposal is provided to the sponsor and they decide if any of them should go forward.

The above is relatively easy but where Plant-It 2020 stands-out is that we figure out how to make this event far better. Part of what we do is go the extra mile by getting a diverse group of volunteers who normally never interact with each other. A state Senator may be shoveling dirt next to both a 'youth-at-risk' and a disabled child. Next to them may be a local homeowner and her children. To the right may be some members of various community service organizations such as the Rotary and Lyons Club and to the left may be members of the church down the street. All of them just heard a talk by a certified Arborist about how to properly plant the trees along with how to maintain them and the benefits these trees will bring to the community.

This is just one example of what Plant-It 2020 does for our city tree-planting events; we get community members to physically build community together. There are many other unique things that we do for these events that are shared with our sponsors. Give us a call and see if your business would benefit by 'giving back' in this way.