Follow by Email

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mayor Joe Jaworski's Op-Ed in the Houston Chronicle
Here's the text:
You don't know what you've lost till it's gone...
by Joe Jaworski
As the people of Texas confront the loss of millions of trees in the aftermath of fire and drought, many of us in Galveston are recalling the gut-level sense of loss we experienced after damage from Hurricane Ike forced us to cut down thousands of the Island ’s trees.
But we are recovering. And in the process, we’ve learned some useful lessons.
Among Ike's victims were 500 of the great oaks that lined Broadway for more than a century. They died from a "salt water kill" that eventually destroyed 50 percent of our urban forest.
Like much that is good in life, the island began to recover from the bottom up, and leaders of a grassroots movement emerged almost organically in the wake of the storm. They called themselves The Galveston Island Tree Conservancy, and they got what help they could from local citizens, foundations, and the business community. They also drew heavily on the expertise of the Texas Forest Service and the National Arbor Day Foundation.
In the end, though, their success depended on a willingness to get their hands dirty and to put resources into planting new and more resilient trees, including Texas Ebony, the only tree that Hurricane Ike left standing in the wreckage of a Galveston public housing development.
So the first lesson Galveston learned was not to wait for the government or other outside groups to solve their problem, and I say this as the city’s mayor. No matter where you live or how you vote, trees usually get short shrift, particularly during an economic downturn.
Second, every tree planted in Galveston over the past two years has come with a commitment from someone to water and care for it. In fact, the Tree Conservancy won a major, nationwide award this month for successfully enlisting entire neighborhoods in the job of re-planting and promising to water each new tree.
Third, after watching our experience replayed across the entire state and in other vulnerable parts of the West and Southwest, where extreme weather is leaving trees vulnerable to drought, fire and insect attack, Galveston has started to treat trees as vital infrastructure. Trees need to be maintained, just as we maintain our bridges and roadways.
Finally, we’ve learned to plan ahead to reduce risk. That’s meant choosing from a bigger range of trees to ensure diversity, and making sure that we plant the right tree in the right place.
And when disaster does strike, we now know there are benefits to disposing of trees in a way that eases loss and encourages people to get out and replant. It took a year or more to figure out how many trees had to come down in Galveston , so the Tree Conservancy had time to plan, and they got creative.
Many of the oaks that once framed Broadway were used to rebuild a 19th Century whaling ship berthed in Connecticut 's Mystic Seaport. And, sculptures made from the trees now attract thousands of visitors to the island. In front of our home, for example, the stump of a hundred-year-old oak has been carved into a wooden column with jagged edges, the symbol in Victorian times of a life cut short.
Over on Ball Street , a row of newly-planted Texas Ebony blossomed again this year. Though we are planting a variety of species across the Island , it feels good to know that this tree in particular is a survivor. And so are we.
Joe Jaworski is mayor of Galveston, Texas

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Media Contacts:
Susan Dewhirst
(207) 467-2406

(415) 365-8548


KENNEBUNK, Maine, October 6, 2011 – From North Carolina to Washington state and with more than 200,000 votes in between, Tom’s of Maine today announced the six winning nonprofits that will share $150,000 in funding as part of its third annual “50 States for Good” program. The winning grassroots projects, as voted on by the public, range from reforestation initiatives and an environmental dance program to free dental care and a friendship network. All demonstrate the impact smaller-sized nonprofit organizations can make in our communities.

This year’s winning organizations are:

$50,000 Grand Prize Winner

·         Galveston Island Tree Conservancy (Galveston, TX): Funding will support the organization’s NeighborWoods program which provides free tree plantings to interested neighborhoods to replace the thousands of trees lost to Hurricane Ike. These trees will filter air, lower storm water runoff and pollutants, and help wildlife.

Tom’s of Maine’s ‘50 States for Good’ program has brought national recognition to the Conservancy’s efforts to replant our island in the wake of Hurricane Ike. There is nothing quite like losing 40,000 trees to highlight how important an urban tree canopy is to a small community,” said Dr. Jackie Cole, President, Galveston Island Tree Conservancy. “Tom’s of Maine’s support will help us continue a five-year reforestation program in the face of the worst drought in more than half a century. ‘50 States for Good’ is an outstanding example of a private-sector company helping a nonprofit to rally local citizens to do great things and rewards the dedication of everyone who gets involved. Thank you Tom’s of Maine for this incredible opportunity; we are thrilled!”

$20,000 Winners

·         Alamance County Meals on Wheels: Fresh Food to Seniors (Burlington, NC): Funding will allow Alamance County Meals On Wheels to provide more fresh produce to elderly and disabled clients in the community through the help of local growers, local co-ops and traditional grocery stores, which will improve the food intake and decrease the food insecurity of those who are homebound.

·         SpectorDance (Marina, CA): This California dance company will use the funds to put on “Ocean,” a new dance media project about the state of the world’s oceans and its influence on climate change. The project is a collaboration between SpectorDance and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, which will include a live performance piece and an educational outreach program that will expand perspectives, stimulate discussion, and contribute original solutions to the challenges facing one of our most critical resources.

·         Western Maryland Area Health Education Center (Cumberland, MD): Funding will help with a two-day, free dental clinic that provides oral health services to over 700 people who would otherwise have no access to dental care. Upwards of 500 community volunteers, as well as 200 dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, oral surgeons, physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and dental students, make this program possible.

·         Philly Friendship Circle: Friends for a Caring World (Philadelphia, PA): The Friendship Circle-Philadelphia Region South pairs teen volunteers and children with special needs for activities ranging from weekly play dates at home to structured weekend programs to holiday celebrations. Funding will allow an increase in volunteers who help form real friendships that enrich the community and promote empathy.

·         The Lands Council: Reforest Spokane Day (Spokane, WA): Reforest Spokane will plant Native Ponderosa Pine trees and funding for the planting will engage at least 500 volunteers in planting 10,000 native trees that will create shade, quiet traffic and beautify the city, as well as grow the community’s love for its Ponderosa Pine heritage.

“Watching these innovative programs grow from the kernel of an idea to something an entire community is talking about demonstrates how public support and a little ingenuity can bring lasting, positive change,” said Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom’s of Maine. “We appreciate all the energy from the nonprofits behind this program and all the people who took time to ‘vote for good’ with a click of their mouse.”

All qualifying 501(c)3 nonprofits were encouraged to apply for the program. Applications were narrowed down to 20 finalists by a panel of judges based on the organization’s use of community volunteers (50%), project achievability (25%) and positive impact on the community (25%). Judges included Christie Garton, USA Today’s Kindness blogger, Beth Kanter, co-author of “Networked Nonprofit” and co-founder of Zoetica, and Sam Davidson, founder of Cool People Care. A six-week online vote starting in August determined the six winning organizations.

Tom's of Maine is a longtime supporter of community volunteer programs including clean waterways and greater access to affordable dental care, among many other programs. In addition, since its inception, the company has donated 10% of its profits back to the community and encourages employees to use 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteer every year.

About Tom's of Maine

Tom's of Maine is a leading natural products company focused on oral and personal care. TOMs sells high quality toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, deodorant, bar soap, and body wash products. The company has a long-standing commitment to supporting people, communities and the living planet. For over 40 years, Tom's of Maine has sponsored hundreds of nonprofit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to the community and encouraging employees to use 5% (12 days) of employee time to volunteer. Tom's of Maine employees regularly contribute suggestions for improving the company’s high sustainability standards. And their ideas, from wind power to ways to improve recycled and recyclable packaging options, are critical to the company's sensitive way of doing business. Tom's of Maine enjoys partnering with its consumers, vendors and community organizations to support lasting, positive change that is good for people and the planet. Visit us online at or at!/TomsofMaine.