Meaghan Weeden | September 28,  2021 | 6 min read

10 Good Environmental News Stories from the Past Month that will Make You Smile 

As the heat of summer fades and fall colors bloom across the Northern Hemisphere, our feeds have been filled with positive environmental news stories. From Plant a Tree Day celebrations across the globe to informative new studies, impactful collaborations and exciting news from One Tree Planted, there's no shortage of things to smile about. So buckle up and hop in for the ride because we've got a lot of ground to cover!

One Tree Planted WINS environmental category of Land Rover defender above & beyond Service awards

We're thrilled to announce that One Tree Planted WON the Environmental Category of the Land Rover Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards — and it's all thanks to you! We asked and you answered, delivering all the votes and shares needed to get us across the finish line!
Reforestation takes all kinds of resources, including vehicles that can maneuver through tough terrain and safely transport our team to remote planting sites. This win saves us the cost of purchasing a vehicle, while also helping us get more trees in the ground. We can't wait to put our new wheels to work!

children playing nature

Children learn science in nature play long before they get to school classrooms and labs

For years, "forest school" programs have been popping up around the world as awareness has grown about the importance of nature play. It's no secret that kids need a healthy dose of nature to learn and thrive, and we're passionate about increasing access to quality environmental education through our School T.R.E.E.S. program. But if you need more scientific proof than the ear to ear grins kids get while playing and exploring in the great outdoors, there's a newly released study for that. Researchers have found that nature play is a highly effective way to embed STEM in early childhood education, with research showing that "regardless of ability, young children are ready, willing, and able to engage in STEM activities." Why is this study good news? Well, studies like this can help inform educators and policymakers as they work to allocate resources and develop educational programs. 

montane forest africa

Africa’s montane forests are more carbon-dense than the Amazon

Yes, you read that right. A new study promises to give Africa’s mountain forests a leg up in the eyes of climate scientists. According to the authors, they store nearly 150 metric tons of carbon dioxide per hectare. And yes, hectare for hectare, that’s more than the Amazon Rainforest. The analysis, published in Nature, looked at 225 plots of old-growth montane forests in 12 African nations, making it one of the most comprehensive surveys of its kind to date. Martin Sullivan, a co-author of the new study and ecologist at Manchester Metropolitan University, U.K., said “We hope that these new data will encourage carbon finance mechanisms towards avoided deforestation in tropical mountains.”

banksia pod australia

Woman Sees A Very Happy 'Baby Bird'

As told by Kym Beechey, “The birds are normally far too quick for me to capture, so when I spied what I thought was a baby tawny frogmouth (an owl-like bird) sitting low on a limb, I was super excited. It wasn’t until I focused the photo and wondered why it wasn’t flying away that I realized it was, in fact, just a banksia pod. Just a cute, adorable banksia pod.” After a One Tree Planted analysis of Kym's photo, the verdict is in: baby bird it may not be, but truly it's an adorable sight to see!

annabels london amazon rainforest installation

A Verdant Rainforest Lush with Plants and Giant Macaws Blankets Annabel’s Facade in London

Spanning from sidewalk to roof and covering the entrance to Annabel's in London is an installation teeming with ferns, florals and a flock of vibrant macaws. The world-famous private member's club Annabel's hosted the inaugural Annabel's for the Amazon, a huge drive to help save the Amazon Rainforest, hosted by the Caring Family Foundation in partnership with One Tree Planted. Through this event, The Caring Family Foundation and One Tree Planted aim to plant 1 million trees by March 2023 — restoring approximately 600 hectares of forest! 

911 Memorial Planting Gillette Stadium

New England Patriots and One Tree Planted Create a Memorial Garden in Honor of 9/11

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and in honor of the New England lives lost that day, we created a memorial garden at Gillette Stadium in partnership with the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution. On September 9th, a ceremony was held at the stadium to unveil the planting and launch the opening of two other exhibits for the 20th anniversary of 9/11: a display wall, and a memorial of steel from the World Trade Center.

In true New England fashion, this memorial garden was a team effort. As a country, we've had to unite over the last 20 years to heal from this experience. And like trees, we're stronger when we stand together. We hope that this 9/11 Memorial Tree Planting serves as a reminder of our collective strength in overcoming hardships. Not only will these trees be a living installation of resilience, they'll also provide hope and beauty to all those who visit the garden to remember the brave souls who endured this tragic event. 

deer in forest

Large herbivores can reduce forest fire risks

A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found that the use of large herbivores can be an effective means of preventing and mitigating wildfires — especially in places facing land abandonment due to socioeconomic conditions. When land is abandoned, it gradually becomes overgrown with bushes, and trees accumulate combustible plant material. This greatly increases wildfire risk and can trigger costly investment in increasing firefighting capacity. By allowing large herbivores to do what they do best, municipalities can replace much more costly solutions like firefighting or mechanical vegetation removal.

Sustainable Agroforestry and Endangered Species Protection Across the Globe

Another month, another reforestation update that's chock full of project stories and interesting facts to brighten your day. From India and Costa Rica to Brazil and Ghana, tune in for a fresh-from-the-field update courtesy of our awesome forest ambassadors Kyleigh and Nicole! 

emory university grounds

Emory University to Update Medical School Curriculum to Include Climate Risks

From heat stroke to asthma and more, climate change increases the risk of many health problems. Despite this, many medical schools haven't been teaching about the connections between climate change and health. Two students at the Emory University School of Medicine set out to change that. They worked together to study these connections, and developed a proposal to integrate climate change content into the standard course of study for first year medical students. Thanks to their hard work, Emory University approved their proposal, ensuring that tomorrow's physicians will be better prepared to practice medicine in a warming world!

plant a tree day volunteers uganda

2021 Plant a Tree day: Community Reforestation, Global Impact

And finally, September 28th kicked off our fourth annual Plant a Tree Day. In celebration, planting will take place through 60 events spread out over 1 month. From Uganda to Tennessee, Poland to Florida, in community parks and watersheds big and small, everyday people just like you are coming together to improve their local environments. Any time we get local communities together to plant trees, it's bound to be memorable, but each year we're inspired anew. From the dedication showed by our partners and volunteers to the scale of what we're able to accomplish together and the spirit of camaraderie that, without fail, imbues each event, Plant a Tree Day is a reaffirmation of why we do what we do.

Hungry for more positivity? We've got plenty more good news stories from the past year. And if you're feeling really inspired, consider planting a tree today

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. Today, we're raising funds to plant with Indigenous communities in the Andes Mountains. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Recover areas degraded by agricultural use
  • Protect watersheds upstream of countless families and villages
  • Reforest landscapes with strong cultural ties to Indigenous communities
  • The Andes Mountains of South America used to have abundant forest coverage, but a growing population and increasing agricultural production have caused significant deforestation. The forests of the Andes are critical for the Indigenous populations who rely on them for food, water, and jobs. But their impact goes far beyond the communities living nearby; the Andes' watersheds drain into the Amazon basin, supplying water to innumerable communities and cities downstream. Thank you so much for your support of healthy forests! 🌲
  • Our amazing partners are leading a Latin America-wide initiative to restore 1 million hectares of high Andean forest across 6 countries over the next 25 years. As part of the annual tree-planting festival Queuña Raymi, trees will be planted with the guidance of local leaders using ancient Incan traditions, preserving the landscape and Indigenous culture. The tree planting will help restore wetlands, safeguard existing forest, and protect critical Amazon headwaters.
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • Our partner has chosen trees that will bring the greatest overall benefit to the region. This includes various types of Polylepsis trees which are native to the Andes and have adapted to the extremely high altitude.


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We plant trees in 6 regions around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?