Global Earth Day Planting

Earth Day 2013 represents a turning point not only for Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, but also for the world. Earth Day is a time for people around the globe to support environmental protection. It is estimated that one billion people worldwide will participate where they live to make a difference for the environment. This Earth Day, Archangel will release into the world its collection of clones from the greatest coast redwood trees that have ever lived in an historic first ever global planting of champion coast redwoods to begin to rebuild healthy forests.

The coast redwood clones will be planted at nine locations on Earth Day in seven countries: Germany, Ireland, Wales, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and in United States – California & Oregon. Locating these trees in multiple locations worldwide will help to ensure their chance of long-term survival in the face of climate change. Declining rainfall and snowpack, and higher temperatures are putting these trees under great stress in their native range. The worldwide locations were chosen as surrogates for the ideal type of climate projected Archangel Global Earth Day Plantingfor the future to give these trees a greater chance for long-term survival. This practice is known as assisted migration, which allows with human intervention, a species to relocate to more favorable location in the face of our rapidly changing climate.

A four-year, $2 million effort to preserve the genetics from the greatest and largest living coast redwoods, and from the largest coast redwoods that have ever lived, is culminating in this global planting event. The team at Archangel scoured the 500-mile native coast redwood range from southern Oregon to central California. They collected genetics from not only the largest living coast redwoods, but also from stumps of the largest ever coast redwoods that were cut down over a century ago. Living material was collected from these trees and stumps and was returned to the propagation facilities in Michigan to begin the process of generating roots and then growing exact genetic duplicates of these champion trees. Intense research, trial and error, and great care went into this propagation process.

Corey Bigelow Selects a Tree

Corey Bigelow selects a “daughter” tree for shipping

A new generation of trees with exact genetic duplicates of the “mother” trees are now growing in the Archangel nursery. Small in numbers, but immense in potential, these valuable “daughter” trees represent the best candidates to not only carry on the legacy of the mother trees, but will capture and store carbon from our atmosphere to mitigate the effects of climate change. These trees can grow 10 feet per year, and when mature, will contain some 400 tons of carbon per tree.

A small number of these daughter trees will arrive in each of the destination countries by April 22, 2013 for planting in Earth Day ceremonies. In nature, a mature coast redwood can produce at least 100,000 seeds annually, but the germination rate is very low. Since we are sending only a small number of trees, intense care by our human partners will be required to ensure these trees’ survival. Secure locations, properly planting in suitable soil and climate, regular watering, and monitoring for years will be required to ensure these valuable trees can become established enough to survive on their own.


Micropropagation Process

The majority of the champion daughter trees remain in the Archangel nursery to provide the genetic material needed to propagate exact duplicates of millions of these trees through a process known as micropropagation. A minute amount of material from these still growing daughter trees is treated with a mix of hormones and supplements, placed in a growing medium, and then with proper care, temperature and lighting conditions will begin to grow and force roots. Each tiny spec of material will result in a new “granddaughter” tree with the exact genetics of the mother tree, for planting in the near future. This process can produce literally million of trees with champion genetics. When reintroduced into the environment, they can cross-breed with existing trees to strengthen the genetic makeup of our global forest. But most importantly, they will capture and store an immense quantity of carbon from our atmosphere at a time when this is desperately needed.

There are considerable safeguards in place in each of the host countries to prevent the transmission of invasive species and disease. Coast redwood trees are not considered to be an invasive species, partially because they take a considerable amount of care to establish, and do not spread easily. Painstaking attention to detail went into the

Tom Brodhagen prepares trees

Tom Brodhagen prepares trees for shipping

selection of each host country, and then to the preparation of each of the young trees. All soil was removed from the roots of the trees to comply with agricultural regulations. Our team sorted a tangle of paperwork and shipping regulations to ensure the swift and safe transport of the trees to their ultimate destinations.

We are grateful to our partners who have stepped up to participate in this global planting. We’d like to recognize their dedication, and enthusiastic support of this project, and to their long-term stewardship of these great trees. This global old growth reforestation is designed to be an integral part of ongoing sustainability initiatives within each of the local communities. Archangel looks forward to sharing more detail of the global planting in the very near future.

David Milarch and his lifelong efforts to reforest the world are the subject of a book by New York Times science writer Jim Robbins entitled The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet. The book features the work and life of David Milarch, and documents the Archangel mission to clone the champion trees of the world –- the largest, the hardiest, the ones that have survived millennia and are the most resilient to climate change — and create a kind of Noah’s ark of tree genetics. Initially, many scientists and tree experts said it couldn’t be done, but now the Archangel

Fieldbrook Stump

Fieldbrook Stump

team has successfully cloned some the world’s oldest trees – including giant redwoods and sequoias. Among the dozens of unique individual tree clones to be planted in the global Earth Day planting will be a duplicate of the Fieldbrook Redwood – a giant tree cut down in 1890 that measured at least 35 feet in trunk diameter and would have surpassed the General Sherman Sequoia as the largest tree on Earth.

The mission of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is three-fold: To propagate the world’s most important old growth trees before they are gone, to archive the genetics of ancient trees in living libraries around the world for the future, and to reforest the Earth with the offspring of these trees to provide the myriad of beneficial ecosystem services essential for all life forms to thrive.

“It’s amazing for one layman to come up with the idea of saving champion trees as a meaningful way to address the issues of biodiversity and climate change. This could be a grass roots solution to a global problem. A few million people selecting and planting the right trees for the right places could really make a difference.”Dr. Rama Nemani, Earth Scientist

Share →

31 Responses to Global Earth Day Planting Event

  1. Katrina Smith says:

    I love the idea, but is the Giant Redwood the best tree? How about planting the trees that give off the highest level of Oxygen and those that clean the air at a higher rate.

  2. Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out.
    Please let me know where you got your design. With thanks

  3. Milly says:

    That’s great, but I really don’t believe that a Redwood clone is being planted here in New Zealand. These trees are not native and would not make it past our very strict bio security. Could you please provide the approval number and associated certificate number for importing the clone into NZ. This would have been required to be submitted to the EPA. It is incredibly difficult to get approval for importation of new plants into NZ. I can see them planting new Kauri or Totara, but not a Redwood sorry…

    It’s not that I don’t think this is a worthy cause, but it’s simply not believable for NZ.

    • admin says:

      Hi Milly. The clones planted in New Zealand were produced in vitro at The Tree Lab, a government approved quarantine facility and tissue culture lab located in New Zealand. You are correct in mentioning that it is very difficult to import stock into New Zealand. Generally, it must be done in vitro which was the case with these trees. The cloned redwood material entered New Zealand lawfully some time ago with full cooperation of Jenny Aiken at The Tree Lab. The parent stock of these trees were old growth redwoods from Roy’s Redwoods in northern California. Thanks for your concern.

  4. gwellem augustine says:

    what is the procedure to join the crew next planing season, and when will it take place?

    • admin says:

      Please visit our Contact Us page and choose “Get Volunteer Information” in the contact form. You’ll be added to our database for future plantings. Thanks for your interest!

  5. john hutchins says:

    I spoke with David by phone after I heard of your project some time ago and I recently called your office to see about the possibility of seeing one of the mother trees in the American chestnut program. The lady that answered your phone (Mary Beth ?) gave me directions to a small town in Michigan where one tree is located. I will be visiting that tree in mid to late May.
    I have an old photo of my grandfather by the standing dead trunk of one of his last American chestnuts. I now own the property on which that and other chestnuts grew. One of the mother logs that had fallen used to grow small chestnut sprouts which would eventually fall victim to the blight (fungus?). About 10 years ago one of these sprouts grew to over 40 feet in height before it finally died. I still have the log from that attempt at survival. I would ,of course, be interested in hosting (planting and nurturing) seedlings if and when they become available.

    thanks for all your good work in attempting to save such a grand old tree species.
    John Hutchins

  6. […] si susseguono numerose celebrazioni ed iniziative. Oggi l’organizzazione mondiale dell’Earth Day Network – di cui Earth Day Italia è partner italiano – coinvolge oltre 20mila organizzazioni in tutto […]

  7. Liz Forrest says:

    We have about 40 acres in the Golden Vale area of Ireland and would be very interested in taking part with such planting, especially of ancient willows given the low-lying level of the land here (it was once known as the Island of the Lakes, according to ancient accounts of it). Someone would need to teach me about their care though. Liz

  8. ted says:

    i helped plant trees at an interchange during an early, possibly 1st, earth day. for many years i’ve proudly pointed them out to anyone riding by with me

  9. Victor Engber says:

    Support plus price of tree like these and planting in another country?


  10. phil sheridan says:

    i have a 42 acre farm in indiana a mile from the ohio river. how would i go about planting a redwood clone tree to help the planet? thanks phil

    • admin says:

      Hi Phil. You should be sure to register for our newsletter. We’ll make an announcement when we get to the point of having enough trees for wider distribution. Thanks for your interest!

  11. Lydia Bernard says:

    Proud of all who are making the dreams of trees come true. Sure wish I had a place to grow a tree, but will need to be an observer for now. Great idea to spread them out to protect the trees from what has happened in native areas, i.e. continued de-forestation, exporting, exploitation of redwoods – to China. See trucks hauling redwood on 101 everyday. So sad.

  12. richard l. morrison says:

    YES, this is a great project. Like others have indicated, I would like to grow a few of these clones. My Oregon property, southeast of Mount Hood…along the Clackamus River… would provide a perfect location. In any case, thank you for sharing the recent news. Rich

  13. Sondra Sneed says:

    Any chance to make an event in Texas?

    • Sondra Sneed says:

      I’m so excited I’ll get to see you at the Earth-Keepers event! I’m bringing my copy of the book, The Man Who Planted Trees, which you will sign for me. David, you are a hero for God, a hero for the earth, and someone I admire as a person of GREATNESS!

      All my passionate love and excitement for your existence,
      Sondra Sneed, Godscribe

  14. Kathy says:

    This is awesome! I own 50 acres agricultural land in northern utah, would love to get involved somehow

  15. Jeanie says:

    I was wondering if I could help raise the seedlings/cloans from my home? I would like to help.

  16. Debi Wolf says:

    This is amazing and wonderful! I live nearby, and would love to get involved in this somehow. Are there volunteer or employment opportunities? What a fantastic thing you are doing!

    • admin says:

      Hi Debi. Be sure to visit our Contact Us page. There is a form where you can send us your contact information. Choose “Get Volunteer Information” under the I would like to dropdown box. Thanks for your interest!

  17. Ron Farrow says:

    Is there any way for other people/organizations to plant these trees? specifically the Redwoods?

    Fantastic project!!!

    • admin says:

      Hi Rob. Be sure to visit our Contact Us page. There is a form where you can send us your contact information. Choose “Get Volunteer Information” under the “I would like to…” dropdown box. Include what is is you’re interested in doing. No guarantees, but at least you’ll be on record when new projects happen!

  18. pat wells says:

    What will be the growing zones of this tree ? Can it grow in Minnesota inside the Twins Cities heat dome ? We have been told we are a zone 5 type of climate now. Moisture would be the issue with fog in our fall and spring seasons but potentially dry San Jose like summers. Winter is the big question ?

  19. Jason says:

    this is literally one of the most brilliant projects i’ve ever heard about. I live in NC and would love to volunteer some time. i dont’ know what to do though.

  20. Dr. James R. Pannozzi DOM says:

    This is a brilliant idea and one which I endorse fully.

    I shall be reading Robbins’ book, “The Man Who Planted Trees:” shortly.

  21. Conor Newman says:

    Hi Guys,

    Amazing project. How do people find out where these are being planted in their countries? I’m in Ireland and would love to able to go visit the site they are planting at here. It would be fantastic to show the kids a tree like these, grown from trees as old and giant as these.

    • admin says:

      The planting in Ireland is taking place on a private estate. Please sign up for our newsletter to hear about future planting events! Thanks so much for your interest!

  22. Terry Mock says:

    Congratulations to Archangel Ancient Tree Archive and all the 2013 Earth Day planting partners from the Port Orford Community Stewardship Area – home of the world’s 1st champion redwood & sequoia forest –

    Earth Day 2013: Pacific High School Participates In

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help Plant A Tree
You can make a real difference by sponsoring the planting of a Champion tree with your donation. This makes a great gift or way to commemorate or honor a friend, family member, or business associate. Plant a Tree Now
Shop Our Store
Visit the Archangel Store for items that you can't find anywhere else. Our items are not only unique, but your purchase supports our mission to work with these great forest genetics. Visit our Store
Make A Difference
You can take part in our effort to Propagate, Reforest, and Archive these incredibly important trees. Watch this brief video to find out more!
Watch Now

Our efforts require your support

Consider making a one-time or recurring gift today