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Give a little love (& a tree) this Valentine’s Day

If you’re looking for a unique way to show your love this Valentine’s Day, here are a few gift ideas that will live well beyond a bouquet of roses – and give a little love to the planet, too.

For many, Valentine’s Day is a time for giving bouquets. The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will order more than $1.9 billion in flowers for the day. But for those who worry about the environmental impact of their gifts, the hidden costs add up with the intensive chemicals, energy and water required for greenhouse floral production. Plus, transportation from countries like Columbia and Ecuador adds 360,000-metric tons of additional carbon dioxide (CO2) added to the atmosphere, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.

This year, consider giving a tree – a lasting gift that can be enjoyed for years. Plus, a tree will produce oxygen, improve air quality, sequester CO2, help reduce urban heat gain, prevent soil erosion, provide windbreaks, feed people, support wildlife, reduce violence and bring people together, according to Tree People, a non-profit organization that supports trees.

Here are seven ways to give a tree, or donate to a forest:

  1. Give a fruit tree

Kansas City Community Gardens in Kansas City is now accepting orders for fruit trees you can plant this spring. Select from several varieties each of apple, cherry, pear and peach trees at Kansas City Community Gardens. If you a quick tutorial on selecting and planting a fruit tree, register for a free virtual KCCG Fruit Tree Workshop from 12 – 1 p.m. on Friday, February 11.

  1. Help The Giving Grove plant 500 fruit trees

If your valentine doesn’t have a place to plant a fruit tree, help The Giving Grove plant them in neighborhoods facing food insecurity as part of a 500 Fruit Trees by Arbor Day Challenge. The impact of 500 fruit trees is 310,875 annual fresh fruit servings and 90.9 tons of carbon offset in communities that need it most. The Gattermeir Family Foundation will match every donation between now and Arbor Day, April 29, up to $25,000. Get more details at The Giving Grove.

  1. Donate to Heartland Tree Alliance Tree Fund

Heartland Tree Alliance is seeking donations to help support tree funds in 18 cities throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. Give to the tree fund at Heartland Tree Alliance.

  1. Find a native tree nursery

Trees that will have the best success rate in your climate and soil will be native to your area. Find a native tree nursery near you in the national PlantNative Directory of Nurseries.

  1. Help grow a forest

American Forests has been planting trees since 1875 to protect and restore forests for wildlife habitat, clean air and water. You can plant 25 trees for $25 and receive a personalized certificate for your gift. View their nationwide programs and initiatives at American Forests.

  1. Contribute to 150 years of Arbor Day plantings

The Arbor Day Foundation will plant trees in honor of your loved one for $2 each, and you can order or download a certificate to present your gift. Get the details at Arbor Day Foundation. Last year the foundation reached its goal of planting 100-million trees in forests and communities for its’ 150th anniversary celebration this year.

  1. Plant trees around the world

One Tree Planted works on global reforestation efforts in North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia. You can help plant trees in the location of your choice for $1 a tree and get a personalized tree certificate at One Tree Planted.

Photo: Jim McWilliamCC

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