Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trees Across The Miles (T.A.T.M.)

I just found this picture of a family tree planting expedition in Chicago, from November of 2004. We're spelling out the acroynym T.A.T.M., which stands for Trees Across the Miles (that's me spelling out the second "T"). It's a nonprofit forestry organization that my dad, Harold Hoover, started several years ago, and it's grown quite a bit since then. This photo was taken during T.A.T.M.'s infancy, back when my dad was doing most of the planting himself and paid for much of the supplies out of pocket. My dad is on the far right, giving the thumbs up sign, and Mani, Sam, Steve, and Matt are also in the picture (from left to right). We all spent our soggy November Saturday (it drizzled the whole time) helping him plant hundreds of seedlings right off the Stevenson Expressway. Today, his organization has grown to include official partners and scores of volunteers who work countless hours and days working to carry on his vision.

What does T.A.T.M. do as an organization? Well, the volunteers (and my dad) go to interstate interchanges and other patches of unused highway land in the Chicago area and plants seedlings, in order to reforest and beautify the urban landscape. My dad and his volunteer crew plant specially chosen pine seedlings that are resistant to salt, a necessity for roadside plantings. Several hundred seedlings are typically planted in a single day, and afterward they are carefully tended to and watered, to ensure that each one grows into a nice, healthy tree. Because of T.A.T.M.'s hard work, several formerly barren and ugly patches of land have been transformed into thriving green oases.

Here are some pictures of my dad posing with his bands of volunteers, and some maps/photos of different areas that T.A.T.M. has transformed so far:

I mentioned to my dad this evening that I was going to feature T.A.T.M. on reverie, and he was very excited about the potential to spread the word about his organization. He told me they are planning on doing another planting very soon (in the Chicago area, of course) and would love to have volunteers, if anyone is interested. Contact my dad if interested by emailing him at Donations are also very welcome, as they are nonprofit and are struggling to make ends meet on good days. What better way to spend your money than to support the greening of our urban areas?

If there was ever a reason to be proud of my dad and what he does to help out his community and the environment—in his free time, no less—then this is it.

(Photos courtesy T.A.T.M.)


g-bug said...

i love it! i am always wondering how we could possibly replenish all the trees that we (society) are constantly clearing away for our comfy furniture and sushi-eating utensils!

it is good to know that people would volunteer their precious time to do something for something bigger than themselves.

kudos to your papa!
(love all the bright, colorful pictures, too!)

Claire said...

I love this post of yours. You and your family are growing in my estimation each time I read a little more... One of my favourite recollections from my school days are arbour days: getting out into fresh spaces and making a difference that will last for years to come! I raise a toast to all those out there who do this regularly!

Chris said...

Yeah, true to form we all had fun with it and we were acting goody the whole time (but got our work done). I'm sure the volunteers enjoy it as much as we did, and feel good making a difference :)