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

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Shameless Plea

We are getting ready to preserve nearly two acres and transform it, like we did our last two properties, into a permacultural wonderland of native, edible and medicinal perennials, pollenator gardens and habitat for a variety of creatures. On our second walk-through at the property, we frightened a muskrat who looked fat and happy but for the fact that he was awakened and had to run a long way for cover. We would definitely improve that critter's habitat! Our earlier goal of saving 80 acres remains our ultimate goal, but this property has an established caretakers home and two greenhouses. We would have to raise four times as much money to build in all those improvements on 80 acres. Not to mention the infrastructure needed to even set up such a facility. As an added bonus, instead of being 3-5 hours from major population centers, there will be a million people within bicycling distance! Talk about offsetting carbon footprints!Even more interestingly, we will be just of fth eIce Age Trail and will be able to offer no trace camping to through hikers!
Trouble is, I'm not going to sugar coat it, money. Due to covid-19, it has been two full years of less than half my normal professional gig that allows me to fund the work that ECO-Tours has done. We are adept at soil restoration and teaching about how to make and use biochar. Spreading seed and re-establishing native cover. There have been many events where contributions have covered gas or lunch, but often not both. We can afford to operate on exremely small budgets, whether we are tree planting, seed collecting and dispersing, teaching classes or doing intrerpretive programs because our labor and management have always been 100% volunteer. It took us our first ten years to do, but we planted 60,000 tree seedlings across Northeast Wisconsin and we raised less than six thousand dollars a year during those years.
We were able to do it because we got creative. One of us would wait around, until after pick-up hours at the annual Department of Natural Resources tree seedling distribution event, many years hundreds of trees came home with us that otherwise would have been thrown into the compost. In fact, the year before the first year we put in our order, I had been walking past the greenhouses at the County Extension Offices. Out back I found over 2,000 tree seedlings in their compost. We took them home. potted them up and it took a while, but we got nearly all of them set out into permanent and appropriate places, their forever homes, within that first spring and fall. After I found that treasure, I went and asked why they had thrown them out and they said that every year, when they did the DNR tree seedling sale, some live plants would not get picked up and they didn't have any way to store them or hold them for later pick up, so they just put them in the compost pile.
I made sure after that to always show up at the beginning of the day to help set up, then to fill my order as late in the day as possible, so I could help after they shut down. After two or three days of getting people paired with their orders for pick up, everyone woul dbe pretty tired and the idea of taking a hundred or a thousand trees home ot plant is too much for anyone to think about, unless you are someone with friends who will help pot them up and eventuqally come help plant them out on another day, which we did. Inevitably there would be at least a few dozen left over seedlings. Most times there were many hundreds and once or twice over a thousand free trees to help keep our costs down. The real value was in all the loving hands that helped pot them all up and those loving hands that came later and lovingly placed them in the ground. Indeed, the loving hands of those who pulled competing weeds were also necessary to have the thousands of sucessful trees, spread across many hundreds of acres that would have never grown without the participation of many hundreds of people who care.
The reason that I mention this is to point out that rather than contributions being eaten up by administrative or fund-raising costs, our dollars flow with power and immediacy to what needs funding, not advertizing and gala events for megadonors. Give what you can. If you would like to stay in the loop about our events, which are mostly centered around Wisconsin let us know at: or if you would lik eot purchase a class, We can teach you everything you need to know to make top quality biochar in just a few hours by phone or online through zoom or fblive. Any contribution of fifty or more gets you a class if you would like to start sequestering carbon forever. If you are having trouble with our paypal link, you can go there directly and use our account number, or, you can go to our gofundme page and contribute to "Save 80 acres of Wisconsin for outdoor school".
These trees were some of the first we planted and this image is from ten years ago. The last time I was past the farm, they were taller than the house! They are also large enough now to shade the west side of the house from summer sun and winter wind. The energy savings alone is like offsetting carbon use that is now unnecessary. In very real ways, we continue to prove that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is today!
Again, please contribute what you can.

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