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Earth-friendly gifts help preserve the world’s green assets

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The gift tree holiday pack consists of 10 young evergreens. The gift tree holiday pack consists of 10 young evergreens.

The Yule Blog, Dec. 3: 22 days until Christmas

Arbor Day offerings are gifts from nature, to nature

Nearly everyone has at least one “problem” name on their holiday gift list: the friend who has everything, the father you have run out of ideas for after 40 years, the sister-in-law who returns everything she gets.

Perhaps this year, a gift with a shade of difference – something from the Arbor Day Foundation – would be pleasantly unexpected.

The Arbor Day Foundation is an organization dedicated to tree and plant conservation. Through efforts large and small, it seeks to promote appreciation for and preservation of the world’s green assets. Its projects involve the greening of communities, replanting forests, preserving rain forests and other undertakings.

Gifts from the foundation are not only Earth-friendly; they also support conservation and tree-planting efforts in the United States and around the world. They are gifts that can last long after the holidays are gone and benefit the earth for generations.

Below are some of the Arbor Day Foundation’s offerings, which can be purchased through its website. It also has an online tree store where fruit trees, flowering trees, ornamental and nut trees, evergreens, forsythia and other popular trees and shrubs can be purchased as gifts.

Growing coffee beans in the shade allows them to mature slowly, an approach that ensures the coffee's smooth taste, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Growing coffee beans in the shade allows them to mature slowly, an approach that ensures the coffee's smooth taste, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

Specialty coffee: Arbor Day coffee is grown in the shade under the canopy of Latin American rain forests. This farming method prevents the destruction of forestland, thus providing a habitat for a diverse ecosystem. The farming method yields harder, denser beans with a stronger, bolder flavor, the foundation says, and growers must adhere to strict guidelines for socially just economic practices and ecologically friendly farming techniques. And the shade allows the beans to mature slowly – an approach that ensures the coffee's smooth taste, according to the foundation. The beans are air roasted just before shipping to preserve their flavor. Most popular is the Chiapas Blend, a French roast coffee that comes from the Nubes do Oro and Ismam Cooperatives in Chiapas, Mexico. The bean has a light, fruity acidity and a nutty body with spicy tones.
Price: $11.49 per 10-ounce bag

The cacao beans that go into Arbor Day chocolate are organically grown under the canopy of Ecuador's rain forest in the upper reaches of the Guayas River tributaries to prevent the destruction of forestland. The cacao beans that go into Arbor Day chocolate are organically grown under the canopy of Ecuador's rain forest in the upper reaches of the Guayas River tributaries to prevent the destruction of forestland.

Chocolate: Raised as part of the Rain Forest Rescue Project, the cacao beans that go into Arbor Day chocolate are organically grown under the canopy of Ecuador's rain forest in the upper reaches of the Guayas River tributaries.Shade farming provides economic incentives for family farmers to protect their ancestral rain forests, and sales provide the farmers a fair living wage and access to health care and education. Through 57 conservation projects in seven Latin American countries, the project preserves irreplaceable rain forests, replants critical areas and provides support to native farm communities. The chocolate comes in milk, dark and hazelnut.
Price: $4.25 per 3-ounce bar to $39.95 for 12-pack assorted

For every Arbor Day card purchased, a tree is planted in the recipient’s honor. For every Arbor Day card purchased, a tree is planted in the recipient’s honor.

Give-a-tree cards: Give-a-tree cards help bring America's National Forests back to life. For every card purchased, a tree is planted in honor of the recipient. Regular greeting cards and photo cards are available in a variety of styles for holiday, special occasions and more. There is free custom imprinting on all cards, with no setup fee and no minimum order required.
Price: $5.95 each for 1-99 cards; $3 each for quantities of 100 or more.

Gift tree holiday pack: Beautifully packaged in in clear tubes, these hardy young evergreen trees are suitable for holiday gifts. The basket consists of 10 trees including Colorado blue spruce, white pine and Norway spruce, and there is a special holiday greeting on each label. The labels can be customized for business or group giving.
Price: $35

Trees in celebration/trees in memory: This program honors a person or their memory while supporting conservation efforts. For each dollar donated, a tree is planted in one of our nation's forests that has been devastated by fire, insects or disease. The recipient is given a certificate showing where the tree was planted. Good for last-minute gifts. Choose Superior National Forest in Duluth, Minn., or Blackwater River State Forest in Florida.
Price: $1 per tree; donor can choose any amount.

Membership: Another gift to consider is membership to the Arbor Day Foundation. In addition to a yearlong membership, the recipient will receive 10 free trees that will be shipped at the right time of year for planting in the area where they live.
Price: $10

“The holidays are a time for thinking about others, and as you do, take a moment to think about what you can do to protect the beauty and splendor of the Earth,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We encourage everyone to give gifts that will have a lasting impact for generations to come.”

For more selections or to purchase these gifts that give back to the planet see arborday.org.

The Yule Blog is a day-to-day countdown to Christmas featuring a new story each day. Click the links below to read other stories in the series.

Nov. 29: Best shopping apps put you where the buys are

Nov. 30: Small Business Saturday gives independent shops their turn to shine.

Dec. 1: Before there was 'Elf,' there was 'The Santaland Diaries.'

Dec. 2: Historic Smithville has plenty of old-fashioned Christmas spirit to go around

Dec. 3: Earth-friendly gifts help preserve the world's green assets

Dec. 4: Great gift ideas for the cook

Dec. 5: Let Cape May kindle your Christmas spirit

Dec. 6: The worst and the weirdest Christmas films

Dec. 7: How to take the perfect holiday portrait

Dec. 8: Will South Jersey have a white Christmas in 2013?


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