ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

501(c)3 Status

Years ago, Eco-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. was established to further my tree planting hobby. I always loved to take people out into relatively wild areas, discuss a bit about what we were seeing, what the natural history of the area was and to teach by example, inviting their reciprocation. Our mission was to help them learn, to plant trees with them and to help heal the rift between humankind and nature. Ostensibly, I told myself, this was "our mission" at ECO-Tours of Wisconsin. As we developed, organically, we found our lessons to be more about soil regeneration. See, planting trees is not enough, you need healthy soil to have healthy trees. ECO-Tours always had very good survival rates, as long as we were in relatively healthy soils, but when clients asked us to plant on pure dirt, by the time we discussed what would be needed for trees to thrive, the landowner's eyes would glaze over.

When we assembled our bard and formally organized, we spent the majority of a full year of donations to hire a lawyer to help write up our articles of incorporation. Then, over the first year or so, we worked on filling in the many pages of forms for getting our Federal Non-profit Status. We finally got the whole package together and the entire thing came back to us with a notification that the information had to be in digital format and that only three companies were allowed to format it for the IRS. This is just the kind of sign that we here at ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. take seriously.
After calling these places and finding that we would have to sacrifice another year of donations to pay faraway people for the privilege of having tax exempt status, we felt that the powers that be were telling us to just back away. since that time, we have still been able to plant tens of thousands of plants and millions of seeds across Northeast Wisconsin, but we are getting more and more donations as well. Not for the tax break, not for a deduction, but because it is the right thing to do. We plant trees. We build soil, it is that simple.

Our efforts have remained HIP (my readers know I'm all about the acronyms) characterized by Honesty, Integrity & Passion. My becoming a charmaster was in part because of my relentless quest for increasing the soil building potential of our work. Without putting time, effort and money into our efforts, we would eventually become irrelevant. The microcosm that is ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. has organically grown in leaps and bounds, reaching more and more people over the years. Sometimes we have growth is people locally, at other times we get more response from people via digital means. Evolving into the future often requires breaking traditions that we didn't even know we had established. when we initially formed, our vision allowed us to have impact in a relatively small georaphic area, planting trees, mulching, composting, building fertility with a few dozen pairs of hands or less, to help on our tours, helping the Earth flourish by our passing.

Through digital means, I have taught four teachers in Africa how to build soils in their areas. I am being asked to provide many more classes for them and to teach what might eventually be hundreds of people in Africa to do what I am teaching here. It is amazing to think of thousands of people building soils every day, not just when they are on tour with me! If, one day, an ultrawealthy donor wants us to get that 501(c)3, I'm not sure that it would ever be worth as much as realizing that the entire world is going to be turning a corner here, real quick, and those I have been teaching, for over a decade now, will be better off for having learned to heal the Earth and that in response, it will heal you. When I started this Odyssey, I did not expect to have herbal healing classes become part of our ECO-Tours, nor did I think that we would have people from around the world on board so quickly. You see, I had been preaching this for twenty five years already, but only recently has it all seemed to catch the mainstream awareness. Each new person needs to become adept at seeing the ecological consequences of every action, something bioneers like myself have known implicitly for decades.

Sometimes, deciding what might be relevant to newbies becomes hard. In my own world view, many things I have learned have become so deeply understood that I would hardly know where to begin. The pranayama, (breathing) exercises that I learned while going to Middle School, The experience of laying roots into contact with the Earth in ways that will make them happy, restoring biodiversity within the soil itself are all things that have become integrated on a cellular level into who I am. Some people will only learn these things by doing, others by hearing about it, others through reading, still others will only know it when all the sounds and smells of tools and roots in the Earth lodge in their nasal passages aural canals and brain. However we learn is our style, our superpower if you will, but how we forget is sublime. It can be our undoing. Imagine getting deeply into the subject of natural history and the abundance of certain foods native to your area, before learning that all foods, even wild foods can concentrate toxic chemicals as well as nutrients. Or learning that introduction of non-native plants can be bad for native species and habitat, after having learned to like exotic species.

ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. will be sponsoring all of my campaign appearances. In fact, I will be taking this opportunity to speak to as many people as possible in Wisconsin's 8th District
This is the region that is covered by the seat that i am running for. This area pretty nearly covers all of what we call, Northeast Wisconsin

A At each of my campaign stops I will be teaching local people how to make and use biochar. Through all 10 and 1/3 Counties. This way, even if i were to lose, they would be able to heal soils in their areas. When I win, there will be places we can point to to show others what will flourish under our care!