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.
Apr 22, 2014

Sacred Earth Lodge Now Hosting Groups and Workshops!

Elmer Melton, First Alaskan Trainee
Elmer Melton, First Alaskan Trainee

We are excited to report that the Sacred Earth Lodge is now hosting groups and workshops! Thanks to generous donors like you, we have been able to open the doors to this one-of-a-kind training facility and provide Native American students with a beautiful and comfortable learning space. The new Lodge is a great addition to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) and offers our Tribal Renewable Energy Program room to grow into a more impactful program for Native American communities. Here are some exciting updates since our last report was published:

Solar Heating System Installed at the Sacred Earth Lodge

As we mentioned in the last report, we planned to use your generous donations to help install a solar hot water heater at the new Lodge. Well, we are excited to report that the new system was installed in early February and it is running great! We heard from our friend Specter, who donated his time and renewable energy background to install the system, a few weeks after the installation was completed: "I performed checks and maintenance on the new system. Not only was the building quite a bit warmer than the outside air temperature, it also felt good. So good, that I ran around checking the electric baseboards installed in the bedrooms and bathrooms, thinking that they might by cranked up. But they were all turned down. The solar thermal was carrying the heat load of the building all on its own."

First Native Student from Alaska

We used the installation of the new solar hot water heater as an opportunity for learning and training. This was the first time we had taught a course on solar hot water systems and also the first time we had a student from Alaska visit RCREC! Elmer Melton is from the Noorvik Native Community in Noorvik, Alaska. Elmer describes himself as “a miser in energy use” and has had experience with energy conservation programs in his community. In his application, he said he “would like to learn how to make hot water with renewable energy sources” so he can share this knowledge with his native community. With fuel costs being so high in his community, Elmer is eager to learn about clean, renewable energy alternatives. It was great to have the Lodge open for Elmer!

Henry Red Cloud Honored by White House

On Thursday, April 17, our Tribal Program Partner and co-manager of the Sacred Earth Lodge was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for his efforts to promote and expand solar deployment in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Congrats to Henry!

Training Season Starting

Our training season is just getting started, and the Lodge will be more important than ever this spring, summer and fall. We kick off the season next week with a straw bale volunteer trip, which gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn how to build their own sustianable and affordable buildings. Next, we will continue our green building theme with a Compressed Earth Block Training in May, working in collaboration with EARTHinBLOCKS. In July, we will host our second Native American Green Business Development Training, followed by our first dual Solar Air Heater/ Solar Electric training in partnership with GRID Alternatives. More information on most of these events can be found at www.solarwarriors.org.

Thank you for helping to build this incredible facility for our students. We greatly appreciate your support as we continue to improve the Sacred Earth Lodge. Our next big project is expanding our leech fields - not the most glamorous of projects but very necessary. Stay tuned for more updates and please consider supporting this project in the future!

New Solar Hot Water Heater
New Solar Hot Water Heater
Henry Red Cloud at the White House
Henry Red Cloud at the White House
Feb 21, 2014

Preparing for a new harvest at Solar Warrior Farm

Sunset at Solar Warrior Farm
Sunset at Solar Warrior Farm

As all the gardeners out there know, it is time to start thinking about this year’s harvest! At Trees, Water & People, we are gearing-up for another great season at Solar Warrior Farm. In 2014, with your support, our Food Security Program will distribute free veggies, offer educational workshops, and help Lakota families living on the Pine Ridge Reservation start their own backyard gardens. In 2014, we will plant a wide variety of organic produce including, potato, cucumber, squash, tomato, corn, melon, peppers, carrots, and a variety of berries.

Next month, ten Colorado State University students will join us for a week-long alternative spring break service trip, helping us to prepare Solar Warrior Farm for the new growing season. In addition, we are looking forward to hosting an intern at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC) for the summer. Anna Dunlap from Berea College will oversee the Farm as well as providing help with general operations at RCREC.

The RCREC campus is growing too! Home to Solar Warrior Farm, RCREC recently added a new building: Sacred Earth Lodge.  This one-of-a-kind training center is an eco-friendly and affordable space available for rent to conferences, workshops, and by visitors to the area. This new building sleeps 23, greatly expanding our housing options for students and guests who visit RCREC. In October 2013, we hosted the grand opening if the Lodge, which included a tour of Solar Warrior Farm! 

Many thanks for the ongoing support from all you GlobalGivers to help us raise funds for tools, equipment, and seeds this year. We hope you will continue donating to this important project and consider visiting RCREC and Solar Warrior Farm in 2014. Stay tuned for updates as winter fades, spring blooms, and planting begins!

Farm Tour
Farm Tour
The chickens are ready for a new season!
The chickens are ready for a new season!
Bountiful harvests await
Bountiful harvests await
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
 
   

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