April 11, 2014|By Alterra Hetzel| Partnerships
Dells Plant A TreeIn November we  pulled out one of our Dell laptops and tapped into a live stream cast of VERGE in San Francisco to watch Dell’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Trisa Thompson, unveil Dell’s 2020 Legacy of Good plan. Released the day before, this plan outlines Dell’s commitment to doing 10 times as much good as the footprint that Dell is leaving behind. Dell aims to expand its story beyond reducing its footprint to something much more ambitious – creating a positive, measurable and lasting impact on the planet’s environment, communities, and people.

As one of Dell’s partners in its Plant-A-Tree program, this was music to our ears. Through Plant-A-Tree, customers can make a donation to plant trees and offset the carbon dioxide emissions that result from powering their printers, notebooks, servers and more. Since 2007, Dell and its customers have helped The Conservation Fund and Carbonfund.org plant 650,000 trees across 1,700 acres across the globe (that’s more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park). Over the next century, those trees will trap an estimated 440,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of taking over 90,000 cars of the road for a year.   

But we know the benefits of trees go well beyond providing cleaner air for us to breathe. The Plant-A-Tree program is also helping communities and people in ways that can be measured well beyond carbon sequestration.

For example, donations to The Conservation Fund from participating Plant-A-Tree customers are helping restore the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. Forestland here will be vital for the reintroduction of the federally threatened Louisiana black bear as well as tens of thousands of migratory ducks and geese.  Communities downstream, including Monroe and West Monroe, can breathe a little easier next spring as the river waters rise. The newly restored lands at Upper Ouachita NWR will act as sponges to help slow and clean floodwaters before they flow downstream.

There are economic benefits, too. According to the recent USFWS report Banking on Nature, restoring native forests on National Wildlife Refuges can make an enormous difference for the communities and people around them.

So in the spirit of Dell’s 10×20 goal, here are 10 ways your Plant-a-Tree donation is doing 10 times the good at Upper Ouachita NWR and other wildlife refuges nationwide:

  1. Number of visitors on US refuges each year: 46.5 million
  2. Value of economic spending in 2011 near all US refuges: $2.4 billion
  3. Number of people employed through US refuge visitation: 35,000
  4. Employment revenue through US refuge visitation: $792.7 million
  5. Home value increase for communities near wildlife refuges in the Southeast: 7%-9%
  6. Total value of local property value increases near refuges in the Southeast: $122 million
  7. Species of birds supported on the refuge Dell customers support: 239
  8. Public use opportunities on the refuge Dell customers support: 7
  9. Number of vulnerable, threatened, or endangered species on the refuge Dell customers support: 6
  10. Number of years that trees from the Plant-a-Tree program will continue to provide these benefits: 100

To date, support from Dell customers and passionate individuals and companies worldwide is making a real difference on the ground. We don’t have to wait until the year 2020 to see the results.  Already, The Conservation Fund’s forest carbon projects have protected 73,000 acres of working forest, restored 25,000 acres of forestland, and planted over 10 million trees.  Now that is leaving a Legacy of Good!