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.
Mar 8, 2016

More than just job skills...

Solar - a new way to honor the old ways
Solar - a new way to honor the old ways
Trees, Water & People's business development training for Native Americans has had a huge impact in the last year, in large part because of friends and donors like you

Besides helping Green Business in Indian Country Start-Up Award winner, Tyler Tawahongva, with his company Cloud Nine Recycling, TWP has continued to develop the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center as a national facility for introducing tribal members to renewable energy and alternative building technologies.

While Native American students come to the Center for a particular workshop, they then have the opportunity to be introduced to applications for a whole host of other renewable energy approaches like solar electric, solar heating, solar radiant floor heating, solar water pumping, and solar mobile stations.  Our students see buildings that use cellulose insulation, and buildings made of straw bales and compressed earth block (CEBs). And they get to eat tasty organic food from the Solar Warrior Farm while meeting students from many different tribes.

For 2016, we are working on the details for a solar electric workshop and installation on the new three bedroom CEB house we built this last year for Paul Shields and his family.  And we are making arrangement for another Canning and Food Preservation workshop and a Foraging for Native Foods workshop.

We are also partnering with We Share Solar to introduce Native American high school students to solar energy and get them thinking about opportunities for green jobs in their future.
Because it's more than just learning job skills; it's about learning principles of sustainability, fostering improved economic circumstances and encouraging Native Americans to consider starting green businesses of their own!

Thank you for being a part of this effort!
Kind regards,
 Richard W. Fox 
Solar PV workshop
Solar PV workshop

Links:

Feb 17, 2016

Gearing up for a New Planting Season

Ponderosa pine seedlings
Ponderosa pine seedlings

At the Colorado State Forest Service Tree Nursery in Fort Collins, Colorado, 17,250 ponderosa pine tree seedlings are basking in the Colorado sun, growing strong as they await transport to their new home on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. In May of 2016, we will move the trees to the reservation, where they will be planted in areas that have been devastated by severe fires.

In 2015, we worked with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and local tribe members to plant 10,000 ponderosa pines. This year, we will nearly double our reforestation efforts and also create nine part-time jobs in the process. In an area that has seen very poor management of forest resources, tree planting will create many positive outcomes for current and future generations.

Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the ponderosa pine, is the most widely distributed pine tree in the United States. “Ponderosa” is the Latin word for “heavy, weighty, or significant” and refers to the impressive size and stature of the trees. It’s yellow to orange-red bark distinguishes it from other species. The ponderosa pine is of vital use to Native American tribes who have used its boughs, pitch and needles to produce medicine, its roots to create a blue dye, the needles for insulation, and boards for construction. The ponderosa pines we are planting were started from seed collected in South Dakota.

We are so thankful for your support of these important reforestation efforts on the tribal lands of the Oglala Sioux. Your support has helped to make this project become a reality. We hope you will consider making an additional donation so we can reach our fundraising goal!

Community reforestation at Pine Ridge
Community reforestation at Pine Ridge
Dec 10, 2015

Buttoned up for the winter

Paul framing the interior
Paul framing the interior

As winter approaches we have buttoned up the exterior of the Compressed Earth Block (CEB) home currently under construction for Paul Shields and his family. The roof is on and the exterior walls are stuccoed. The windows and doors are all framed and set. It is now time to turn these four walls and a roof into a proper home for the Shields family! With your support, we can do this for a deserving family in need.

In partnership with Lakota Solar Enterprises, we have framed the interior walls but before they can be finished we will need to run all the electrical wiring which will not only provide lighting but also heat. To continue finishing the interior, it is imperative to have a warm space so that we can continue working through the winter. This home is already inspiring many people on the Pine Ridge Reservation to think differently about housing possibilities and is proving to be a way to expand their economy as all block for the CEB are made on the site from locally sourced materials.

“Building our own homes with renewable energy, I believe we can build our economy,” says Red Cloud, founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises (LSE) and a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “We’re building awareness around this.” 
 
As Henry said, we hope that through this home building, we can show people the many possibilities of Earth Block construction. With your help we will not only house a Lakota family but also open the door to more sustainable construction on the reservation. Please consider donating to help us finish this home!   

Stucco + roof
Stucco + roof
John Motley hard at work
John Motley hard at work

Links:

 

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