M.A. Center New England

Embracing the Trees - New England

What is Embracing the Trees?

Amma's encouragement for us to plant trees has gotten stronger and taken on more urgency recently. First, she asked us to plant one tree per month. Now she asks us to also plant trees for special holy days, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Although willing to plant trees, many of us don't know how or where to begin. To that end, GreenFriends North America introduced the Embracing the Trees (ETT) initiative to support all MA Centers and satsangs as we work together to plant as many trees as we can.

The ETT initiative also aims to provide opportunities to honor Amma's pledge to join the Trillion Trees Campaign which was launched by the UN in March of 2018. All trees planted will be recorded and reported to Amma!

What does Embracing the Trees New England do?

The regional Embracing the Trees team in New England is comprised of local devotees working together to:

  • Promote an awareness of the importance of trees
  • Encourage devotees to plant trees on their personal property
  • Be a resource to help devotees facilitate the entire tree planting process from start to finish: identify a location, select an appropriate tree for the space and climate, provide options for procuring the tree, physical support to plant the tree, and education around tree care and maintenance after planting.
  • Inform devotees about opportunities for community/local government sponsored tree planting programs
  • Share regional resources for groups, such as non-profits, who are also working on tree-planting with whom devotees can volunteer.
  • Provide tree planting guidelines for our region of the country
  • Actively seek out opportunities to plant trees

Activities We’ve Done So Far:

  • Fall 2021 - Embracing the Trees was created and our regional group was formed! We spent several months brainstorming, collaborating through video conferencing, and generating ideas for what ETT could look like in New England.
  • December 2021 - Introduced ETT to the New England community in the Amma New England email newsletter. Asked devotees for help with identifying land where trees could be planted. From this email, we heard from a handful of people and made connections with each of them.
  • Winter 2021-2022 - We started to create a database of tree planting organizations in New England. We also started researching how devotees could obtain trees in their own communities.
  • April 2022 - Sent a survey in the Amma New England email newsletter asking devotees what kind of ETT activities they are interested in.
  • May 2022 - Tree planting of 9 Arborvitae trees in Redding, Connecticut. ETT helped a family of devotees plan for and then plant a living privacy screen. It was a joyful day for the devotees of south western CT and the ETT team, culminating in a beautiful outdoor Satsang.
  • Fall 2022 - Followed up with devotees who expressed an interest in planting trees on their land. One devotee informed us that she was inspired by the ETT initiative and reached out to a local organization in Northampton, MA who helped her plant a tree on her land. Another in Northampton, MA said that she planted two trees in her yard. Yet a third devotee reported planting 3 fruit trees on their property in Northern Vermont.
  • Fall 2022 - Published an article in Greenfriends Newsletter about the CT Tree Planting, titled Planting Trees in Amma’s Name.
  • Fall 2022 - Local devotees help with researching autumn tree planting opportunities in all of the New England states, tree planting organizations, and city/town sponsored tree planting programs.
  • Spring 2023 - Planning for ETT retreat with Swamini begins!
  • April-May 2023 - Shared list of tree planting volunteer opportunities in Amma New England email newsletter.
  • June 2023 - Hosted an Embracing the Trees and Yoga Retreat with Swamini Ambikāmrita Prāna in Worcester, MA. Highlights from the day included: An outdoor eco meditation lead by Swamini, an informational talk by Jess about our interdependence with nature, a tree-planting demonstration and education lead by Victoria, and retreatants were gifted with optional Rose of Sharon and Silver Maple saplings to plant in their own yards.
  • August 2023 - ETT team members worked together to create a tree planting guide for the New England area. The guide contains information about: tree species that grow well in New England, including a fruit tree guide, a list of habitat plants that can be planted along with trees, a list of nurseries where saplings can be purchased, and information about tree planting organizations where devotees can volunteer.
  • Fall 2023 - Article published in Greenfriends Newsletter about the retreat with Swamini. We are also starting to have a regular presence in Amma New England email newsletters, serving to raise awareness, educate the community, and hopefully spark interest in trees!

How can I get involved?

  1. Plant Trees:
    Do you have property or know of a place where we can plant trees? Email us and we can help facilitate the entire process from start to finish.

    Many municipalities have free, town-sponsored tree planting programs. Contact your local town hall for more information and to request a free tree on your sidewalk or property.

  2. Be an Advocate:
    Inform your neighbors about town sponsored tree planting programs and encourage them to request a tree as well! Consider using social media to help spread the word more widely or distribute pamphlets. Many people do not know about these programs and the more trees we can get in the ground the better.

    Some neighbors may be hesitant to plant trees around their house, but we can educate them about the benefits. Focusing on the financial benefits including increase in property value, reducing cooling and heating costs, and saving water may be a strong way to convince some neighbors. Benefits of trees resource 1, resource 2, resource 3.

  3. Join a Local Organization for tree planting/restoration events. This doc has a list of some organizations throughout New England that you could volunteer with.

  4. Grow Your Own Trees and offer them to satsang members or in your own community.

  5. Be on the Lookout for announcements in the Amma New England email newsletters for updates on upcoming ETT initiatives.

Contact Us!

Tell us how you contribute to ETT initiatives and we will share everyone's individual contributions with the national team! If you plant a tree, it will be counted towards the Trillion Tree Campaign in Amma’s name.
Do you have an idea to share? We are excited to hear about it; please send us an email!
Email: trees.ammane@ammagroups.org