Trees Water & People

Trees, Water & People is committed to improving people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. We believe that natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management.
Feb 20, 2014

Solar Heater Project for Native American Families Nears 100% Funding

Changing lives with solar heating
Changing lives with solar heating

What an inspiring community you have created here at GlobalGiving. Hundreds of generous people from around the world coming together to improve the lives of Native American families by donating to our Solar Heaters for Native American Families project. We really can't thank you enough for your support and generosity!

We are only $250 away from our goal of raising $14,000 for solar air heaters for Native families, and that is a great thing, because we already have families selected to receive these heaters. In October of 2013, we helped Winona LaDuke’s White Earth Land Recovery Project submit a grant to the Clean Energy Resource Team (CERT).  Winona was successful in securing the CERT funding for a Solar Air Heater Training and related wages for members of the White Earth Tribe. Winona is also facilitating the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold to attend the training. Thanks to donors like you, we are able to donate 10 heaters to the White Earth Land Recovery Project for installation on the White Earth Reservation. The newly trained installers will be paid to install these 10 systems to families in need to relieve the bitter cold of northern Minnesota. Not only are we keeping families warm, we are creating meaningful jobs for our nation's First Peoples!  

Our Tribal Program partner, Henry Red Cloud said to me, "My biggest dream is for First Nations communities to become energy independent before mainstream America." Together, we are helping this dream come true. 

We hope you will stay connected to our work through Facebook, Twitter, and on our blog so you can continue to see the positive impacts of your investment in this project. You can also join our email list to receive monthly updates. Thanks again for your support! 

Keeping families warm!
Keeping families warm!
Solar heating + green job training = bright future
Solar heating + green job training = bright future
Jan 22, 2014

Solar Heating for the Sacred Earth Lodge

Sacred Earth Lodge at night
Sacred Earth Lodge at night

The Sacred Earth Lodge (SEL) has been open to the public for three months now! We have already had several groups stay at the new faciltiy and we look forward to hosting many more visitors and Native American trainees in 2014.

At the end of this month, Native American students from across the country (including our first student from Alaska!) will join us at the new Lodge to learn how to install a solar hot water system. This will be our first Solar Hot Water Heater Training. Once the system is in place, it will join our growing selection of on-site renewable energy demonstration units. Along with our existing solar air heaters, wind turbines, and grid-tied and battery-tied photovoltaic systems, we will now have a solar hot water system that can be taken apart and reassembled class after class. This equipment gives us the ability to do hands-on training, which is so important to the learning process and what makes our training program unique.

With your donations, you are supporting this important new clean energy system and contributing to SEL’s low impact, sustainable building design. The hot water generated in this solar water system will be mixed with anti-freezing agents and circulated through a radiant heat floor to keep the building warm, using only the sun’s rays! 

We can not do this important work without people like you! Thank you for your support and we look forward to sharing more updates with you throughout the year. 

 

Solar Hot Water System
Solar Hot Water System
Solar PV demo site
Solar PV demo site
Sustainable building designs, old and new
Sustainable building designs, old and new
Nov 27, 2013

More produce than ever!

Healthy veggies!
Healthy veggies!

At the end of October, we said farewell to our 2013 summer Intern, Teague, who was an indispensable part of our team as we completed our new training facility, the Sacred Earth Lodge, and produced our second year of crops at Solar Warrior Farm. Teague worked incredibly hard, tirelessly, and with few breaks!

I met Teague at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center this summer. He was in from Wisconsin and met me to begin his internship with Trees, Water & People, spending three months as our on-site intern for our Tribal Renewable Energy Program, assisting with renewable energy trainings, the construction of Sacred Earth Lodge, and management of Solar Warrior Farm.

Teague has successfully grown the impact of our Food Security Program through Solar Warrior Farm, this year distributing more healthy, sustainably grown, and locally available produce than ever. He also co-hosted our first canning workshop, and is teaching a composting workshop this Fall. Twice each week, Teague goes into the community and distributes produce to the Oglala Lakota residents of Pine Ridge. Here is a little bit about his experience in his own words:

Last week I set up a free give away in front of the Tribal Office in downtown Pine Ridge. I had a lot of conversations with a lot of different people about growing food. People were excited about fresh tomatoes, and of course I always get a few strange looks when people hear that I'm giving away the food for free. After a few hours of the give away…I was invited to eat lunch with the employees at the tribal office. They were grilling out back so I sliced up some cucumbers and joined the potluck!

Teague’s weekly distribution average this season was between 150-200 lbs of fresh produce. I love to hear his stories about the interactions he has while distributing food. He likes to offer lemon cucumber samples, and he told me that the kids eat them like candy. What a treat indeed to have truly fresh, juicy produce in the middle of the hot summer in one of the Nation's largest food deserts! One woman was very excited to receive tomatoes so that she could make salsa. She plans to bring Teague a jar next time he’s in front of the Tribal Offices.

We are already planning for the 2014 season at Solar Warrior Farm, and we appreciate all your support for the next growing season. Have a wonderful holiday season and thank you so much for your support of this important project!

organic produce straight from the garden
organic produce straight from the garden
A sunny day at Solar Warrior Farm
A sunny day at Solar Warrior Farm
Niko loves helping!
Niko loves helping!
Teague working hard
Teague working hard
Lots of life at Solar Warrior Farm
Lots of life at Solar Warrior Farm

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