16 January 2014 was an incredible day for community partners and local schools. HAF staff attended planting events throughout 8 provinces, traveling from school to school, community to community, overseeing tree deliveries and environmental lessons presented by local teachers and farmers. Nearly 10,000 trees were planted in the course of 1 day, setting the stage for the rest of the planting season during which HAF will plant 400,000 trees with community partners.
Al Haouz: Director of Programs in Al Haouz Province, Malika, visited 4 rural schools with Rachid El Kouhen, father of Sami, the inspiration for Sami’s Project. In Al Haouz nearly 2,000 trees were planted with school children, including over 1,000 walnut, 383 olive, 214 orange, 87 carbotrees, and 20 fig, 20 pomegranate, 20 eucalyptus, 20 aromatic plants, and 20 almond. HAF President Yossef Ben-Meir participated in the tree distribution in Akraich village – from the community nursery that embodies Morocco’s unity and diversity.
Azilal: In Azilal Province, Director of Programs Abderrahim traveled with HAF Chair of the Board Thom Anderson to three schools. Peace Corps Volunteers also attended these events, providing support for the teachers and principals during the planting. One student reflected “we can benefit from the idea of nurturing the trees in our school yard and learning about the importance of tree planting for our future”. In Azilal, 60 carbotrees, 30 pomegranate, and 30 lemon trees were planted. Boujdour: HAF Site Manager Hana oversaw the planting of 798 trees in Boujdour Province at 5 sites. Community members and school children planted different varieties, including Lagunaria, Acacia Cyanophylla, and Schinus Molle – species that are well adapted to handle the dry environment in Boujdour.
Essaouira: Director of Programs Lynn and Program Assistant Joke oversaw planting at two schools in Essaouira, attended by the Governor of Essaouira Province, Mr. Abdelouahab El Jabri. 41 olive and carob trees were planted with about 150 school children. See more about the planting at Essaouira here, and check out this video clip.
Mohammedia: At The Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences of Hassan II University in Mohammedia, the tree planting was celebrated with Matthew Lussenhop, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Morocco. Mr. Lussenhop praised the actions of the High Atlas Foundation and the continued cooperation between the US government and the movement towards a Green Morocco.
Rhamna: Office Manager Fatima-Zahra and Program Manager Aicha Galef visited 5 schools in Rhamna Province. After distributing trees to the first two schools, it began to rain, a most promising sign for the health of the trees and the local agriculture. In Rhamna, 390 almond, 1,440 olive, 62 orange, and 730 pomegranate trees were planted.
Taroudannt: Site Manager Fatima oversaw the planting of 383 trees in Taroudannt Province. 6 schools in 2 communes received almond trees to be planted in school yards, and more trees were distributed to students to bring home and plant with family members in their orchards.
Taza: Director of Programs Mouhssine oversaw the planting of 3,949 trees of different varieties in Ain Bashar of the Taza Province. HAF is expanding into additional provinces throughout Morocco, and the millionth tree event gave HAF the opportunity to begin expansion and partnerships in 26 sites throughout Taza Province.
1 Million down, the 1 Billion Tree Campaign begins! According to Morocco’s own projections and goal, 1 billion trees are part of what is needed to overcome subsistence agriculture, which is at the root of rural poverty, and to offset the severe environmental challenges such as soil erosion and deforestation. With gratefulness and the belief that high aspirations for humanity come true with unwavering dedication by the many, and after the people’s sustainable achievement of the 1 Million Tree Campaign, the High Atlas Foundation is thrilled to announce the beginning of its 1 Billion Tree Campaign. This is Morocco’s collective time! Stayed tuned for the release of the 1 Million Tree Campaign video!