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Flowing Funds to Reforestation: A New Year Check In

by Laurel Zoff Pelton |

We’re already a month into the year 2022 which means we’re due for our annual check in! This installment of our Flowing Funds to Reforestation blog series will look at the results of the past calendar year. We’ll let you know the highs and lows, our hopes for the coming months, and the trees planted and accomplishments funded by your morning coffee in 2021. 

As we’ve mentioned in prior installments of this blog series (which you can find here if you’d like a quick catch up!), with the coffee you drank last year, we projected we would send roughly $36,000 to the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, contributing matching funds for a project with the Flemish Fund for Tropical Forests from Belgium and supporting a couple other parts of the foundation’s reforestation work . 

By year end, we projected funding 30,000 trees for this specific, impactful project. And we got close! You drank enough coffee to plant 30,000 trees, so in that sense - we did it! But due to new decisions from a couple of the project participants within the Flemish Fund project, we only got to 24,000 trees or 80% of the goal. To give you the idea, one of the participants changed her mind following an acrimonious divorce and now says that she needs to maintain the pasture area she had planned to reforest. In the words of MCF founder, Brian Krohnke, “This system has a lot of moving parts, and as many of us have seen during the pandemic, the human element can be highly variable.”

The money won’t be lost, however, and will carry forward to other efforts by Mindo Cloudforest Foundation in 2022. As you likely well know, COVID-19 and the Omicron variant have ripped their way through most of the world, and Ecuador was no exception. Currently the Foundation is getting past a small spate of cases that have affected a couple staff members and volunteers.

But trust us, it wasn’t all grinning and bearing it this year - there were plenty of gorgeous high points, especially the gradual return of birding tourists and the renewed lekking of the Club-winged Manakin. This intriguing species began its ritual courtship-dancing a couple months later than usual, scaring the Milpe Bird Sanctuary staff into thinking that maybe these birds had gone further up the mountain owing to climate change. But thankfully, their return brought relief and joy to everyone at MCF.

Photo: Club-winged Manakin courtesy of Mindo Cloudforest Foundation

Talking about the weather, WOW it has been rainy in the cloud forest. There is always high year to year variability in rain totals in this part of the world, but this time we essentially skipped the dry-season. There were a couple weeks of sun last July, but otherwise, one set of rains has bled right into the next. Which is great for tree plantings and reforestation success but a bit tough on the humans involved!  

But again, Brian Krohnke and the rest of the team at the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation were able to work through these challenges to get trees planted, birds protected, and carbon sequestered. How much carbon exactly? Well, with the nearly sixty acres of trees you helped to plant last year, we can project annual sequestration equivalent to around 475 tons of CO2 averaged over thirty years. What’s more, these acres aren’t monocropped or tree farms, but highly diverse plantings of over fifty species, from Alchornea triplinervia to Zygia longifolia. Talk about good karma in every cup.

And we’re not done. In 2022 there are more trees to plant, more projects to fund, and of course more tree-funding coffees to be sipped. But for now, just know we’re as excited and eager as you are to keep this impactful work going. Thanks so much for your support this past year. Without you, these trees would not have been planted, the birds not protected, the carbon not sequestered, and the world a little worse off. By simply making a small choice in your morning coffee, you’ve made a big difference. We look forward to this next year’s projects, and are very grateful for your investment and support. Here’s to 2022 and great coffee and planting to come. Cheers!!

Written by Laurel Zoff Pelton with Mindo Cloudforest Foundation founding member, Brian Krohnke

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