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By Ann Bond
Special to The SUN
A donation to the U.S. Forest Service Plant-a-Tree Program is a great holiday gift idea for that special person who has everything and loves the natural world.
For a minimum donation of $20, the giver receives a certificate on behalf of a person or family, and 10 seedlings are reserved to reforest a burned area on the San Juan National Forest. It costs the Forest Service about $2 per tree to collect the seeds, grow the seedlings in a nursery and plant the trees.
Plant-A-Tree donations are used to reforest areas where fires or other natural disturbances have damaged forests. Tree planting provides future wildlife habitat, decreases soil erosion and helps with spring snow retention, while also helping to sequester carbon and provide oxygen. This year’s donations will go directly towards a reforestation project scheduled for the spring of 2015 in the area burned by the Missionary Ridge Fire around Vallecito Reservoir.
Donations can be made in person by cash, check or credit card at San Juan National Forest offices. Credit card donations can also be made over the phone, or checks can be mailed to San Juan National Forest Plant-A-Tree Coordinator, 15 Burnett Court, Durango, CO 81301. Checks should be made payable to USDA Forest Service, with “Plant-A-Tree, San Juan National Forest” noted in the memo portion of the check. The program is considered a charitable donation by the IRS. Requests may take a few days to process, and contributions cannot be refunded. The donor receives a personalized certificate to document the gift.
For more information, visit the San Juan National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sanjuan/workingtogether, or contact the San Juan Public Lands Center at 247-4874.