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Playing for Reforestation: Professional Athletes Planting Trees through Global Reforestation Projects
One Tree Planted and Players for the Planet have partnered to help professional baseball across the USA and Japan make a positive impact for the environment. How does it work? Players sign up to become forest ambassadors, choosing their level of commitment and how specifically they would like to get involved. This can range from creating custom fundraising programs that engage fans to sponsoring tree planting events in their communities, sharing on social media and more.
If a custom fundraising program is chosen, players choose which reforestation project their campaign will support and how donations will be triggered. For example, one player may plant trees for every game their team wins, while another may choose to plant trees for every strikeout they throw. Once the player has designed their custom program, we create a microsite that tracks their impact and social media graphics that they can share with their audience. Sharing these digital assets helps to engage their fans and inspire additional donations to maximize their campaign.
Sports Sustainability In Action
Whether it's a deep personal connection with nature, a desire to promote environmental justice in their own communities or just wanting to make a positive impact for the environment and future generations, each player has a unique motivation that inspires and drives them.
Brent Suter, pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, put it especially well:
“We as a society need to have a monumental reconnection in our relationship with nature in order to move towards a sustainable future. When, not if, this takes place, sustainable policies and lifestyles will organically come to pass and we will once again inhabit a planet that thrives, is stable, and abundantly provides for all life.”
Read On to Learn More About a Few of Our Awesome Player Campaigns!
TONY KEMP: Second baseman and outfielder for the Oakland Athletics
Tony pledged toplant 100 trees in a fruit treereforestation project in India for every extra-base hit and stolen base he got during the 2021 season.As he said,"I'm proud to support this project as it will not only plant trees but will also provide the local community with a sustainable source of healthy food."In addition to his campaign for fruit tree reforestation in India, he invited his fans to make a donation to plant trees in a United States Forest Service reforestation project.
The result: He got 27 extra-base hits and 8 stolen bases — and thanks to his awesome fans, a total of 9,285 trees will be planted!
PAUL DEJONG Shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals
Paul fundedan awesome tree planting event at Forest Park in St. Louis!In his own words"I think giving back to help reforestation is important for animal habitat and to ensure a healthy state of our environment. I like connecting with nature and living an organic life, so anything I can do to help maintain and grow our environment, I’m excited to help and be a part of."He also invited his fans to make a donation to plant trees in a United States Forest Service reforestation project.
BRENT SUTER Pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers
Brent pledged to plant 100 trees in a fruit tree reforestation project in India for each Brewers win after the All-Star Break, and also funded a small tree planting event in Milwaukee!In addition to his campaign, he invited his fans to make a donation to plant trees in a United States Forest Service reforestation project.
From Brent: "The fruit tree program not only helps take carbon out of the air, but it will help provide many communities with healthy food. Additionally, the program will inevitably bring people in communion with nature, which is an invaluable aspect of the fight for our planet’s future."The result: 42 team wins for a total of 4,200 trees planted!
KYLE FUNKHOUSER: pitcher for the Detroit Tigers
Kyle pledged to plant 50 trees in a One Tree Planted reforestation project for every strikeout he threw in the 2021 season —and invited his fans to donate, too.
In his words,"I feel great about having the opportunity to make this pledge through Players for the Planet and One Tree Planted. It’s awesome that all of us in the league who are involved can use our performances on the field to do some real good and raise awareness for the importance that trees play in everyone’s lives, no matter who or where they are."The result: 63 strikeouts this season for a total of 3,150 trees planted!
DREW VERHAGEN: pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
Drew pledged to plant 20 trees in a Chippewa National Forest reforestation project for every strikeout he threw this season,and invited his fans to join in.
From Drew:"I'm excited to join Players for the Planet in their forest restoration project. It's difficult to make meaningful change as an individual, but as a group, we can make a significant impact on the earth for our kids, our kids' kids, and so on. My hope is that we can raise awareness and serve as role models for younger generations by showing them the importance of taking care of our planet."The result: Drew threw a total of 100 strikeouts this season which will result in his campaign planting a total of 2,000 trees!
CHASEN SHREVE: Pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Chasen made a one off donation to plant 1,000 trees,and invited his fans to donate, too.
As he said"I'm proud to support two reforestation projects with my campaign. The first is in Idaho and it will plant fire-resistant species of trees, help restore the local watershed, and will ultimately allow visitors to appreciate and make use of this land for years to come. The second project covers multiple sites across Minnesota's ChippewaNational Forest and these plantings will improve forest stand resilience to climate change, water quality, and create wildlife habitat. I grew up going camping with my Dad, and some of my best memories are in the forest. I want to be able to share that with my kids one day."
Leading by Example
As role models with millions of fans across the United States and world, professional athletes are uniquely positioned to make an impact for the environment. And when they leverage their powerful platforms and resources, there's incredible potential for change.
We're so grateful to all of the athletes who helped us get trees in the ground this year and look forward to continuing our work together with Players for the Planet!
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Meaghan works to share our story far and wide, manages our blog calendar, coordinates with the team on projects + campaigns, and ensures our brand voice is reflected across channels. With a background in communications and an education in environmental conservation, she is passionate about leveraging her creativity to help the environment!