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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Energy Resources Conservation & Development, Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Pollution Abatement & Control

Mission: Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to improve people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends.

Results: Nationally, TWP is actively involved with helping to improve the lives of Native American families living on the reservations of the Great Plains. There, where the winters are extremely long and harsh, Native Americans commonly spend more than half of their income on their exorbitant utility bills. Together with our reservation-based partner, we have built 850 economic solar heating systems, saving tribal families 20-30% on their annual heating bills, and trained more than 175 tribal members in residential and facility-scale renewable energy applications. We have also planted trees and shrubs around the home sites for more than 160 additional families, further lowering heating costs and associated emissions by acting as an important wind blocks during the frigid winter and providing much-needed shade during the sweltering summer. Internationally, TWP works extensively in Central America and Haiti. Together, with our country-based partners, we support 8 community tree nurseries that produce over 650,000 trees annually to aid in reforestation efforts, planting over 4.3 million trees to date. We have built 47,800 clean cookstoves. Each cookstove decreases a family’s need for firewood by 50-70%, as compared to standard open fire cooking, and reduces carbon emissions by at least 1.5 tons per year. When vented to the outside of the home, these improved cookstoves also decrease indoor air pollution, which is responsible for the death of 1.9 million women and children globally every year.

Target demographics: low-income, rural and peri-urban communities in Central America, Haiti and on Native American Reservations in the U.S.

Geographic areas served: Latin America and U.S. Native American Reservations

Programs: Clean Cookstoves Program, Reforestation Program, Solar Energy Program, Tribal Renewable Energy Program

Community Stories

116 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Feeling the need contribute to the well being of others I researched and followed several organizations until I found TREES WATER PEOPLE. I am not very wealthy so I needed to feel my small offerings were getting a bang for the buck. Combining technology and local communities dedicated to improving peoples lives this non-profit is rocking it. In the central highlands of Honduras clean cook stoves improve lives by producing a lot less smoke in homes and reducing the tedious labor of gathering wood. Water cisterns made by a simple, and extremely durable design ease families through the dry months. The appreciation and gratitude the village people showered on us was very touching. I will be with TWP for a long time.Tamara Winter Nelson, Boulder, Colorado

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was the first Volunteer Communications Intern at Trees, Water & People. The people and work environment are welcoming and overall genuinely nice and he staff are really passionate about the mission & vision of the nonprofit. I can honestly say it was one of my favorite places to work at.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TWP connects people to the planet by creating programs wherein communities protect the planet while protecting their own long term well being. TWP is small but makes a large impact and creates a ripple effect of good. Interning with them was an amazing experience full of personal and professional growth.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We worked with TWP at Lakota Solar Enterprises on Pine Ridge reservation and with Henry Red Cloud. Eriq and Richard were awesome and made sure we had what we needed and enough work to do. They explained things and answered our questions. TWP is working hard to help low income areas help themselves, and to partner with outside volunteers to help as all. Thank you!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5


On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 1:32 PM, Agnes Wagner wrote:
I had an amazing opportunity to volunteer at Trees, Water & People while I was on an extended visit to Colorado from Germany.
All the staff was incredibly supportive and helpful, and the work they are doing is truly amazing.

While I was there we were working on planting 33.000 trees on Pine Ridge Reservation and worked together with a Lakota family to complete a solar panels and a solar air heater installation. The solar air heating systems are manufactured at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which provides jobs for local people, and also trains people from other First Nation tribes to take the technology back to their own communities.

Besides that we were working in Central America helping families to create a healthier lives by building clean cookstoves. With the stoves the indoor air pollution goes significantly down as well as reduces the time and the amount of wood needed for cooking...

Overall I really enjoyed my time at TW&P

Joanne64

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Trees, Water & People for a couple of years. I originally found them because I was looking for an organization that plants trees for carbon offsets. TWP does that and so much more! I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with TWP to Honduras in January and see on the ground the kind of work that they do. I was so impressed with how TWP works with local partners to help rural people while at the same time helping the environment. Our group participated in building two fuel efficient and clean burning wood cook stoves (they use just 10% of the wood of traditional stoves) and construction of wire and cement pilas for rainwater catchment. We also interacted with people in the communities, with the help of TWP's employee in Central America who acted as interpreter. I was so impressed with the organization, the people, and the work that they do. TWP makes their funding go a long way, making a big difference in people's lives with a little bit of money.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the wonderful opportunity to join with Trees Water, People on a trip to Honduras in January. Their knowledge of the community and their needs was so impressive. Two of the TWP personnel were so talented in Spanish and worked hard to translate every word. We learned about the need for fuel efficient justa stoves that let no smoke into the homes and are so much more healthy. We assisted in the construction of two of these stoves as well as building Pilas for water storage. We toured coffee farms and learned about the benefits of diversifying the forest. I was so impressed with how much they are doing! It was an amazing group of people!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started as a development intern at Trees, Water & People shortly after I finished my undergraduate degree and I couldn't have asked for a better place to land. The staff here is truly incredible and all hold extensive knowledge in their field. However, what is even more impressive, is the genuine passion for what TWP does in Latin America and on US Tribal Lands. By working on TWP projects, I was able to grow my skill set and also see firsthand what projects in indigenous communities can really do for locals. I love that TWP works with communities and really listens to what locals would actually benefit from. This creates sustainable economic opportunities for years to come. I feel extremely blessed to now call TWP my workplace and work alongside these wonderful human beings.

Sally77

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to do a volunteer placement with Trees, Water & People while on an extended visit to Colorado from Australia. The staff are incredibly supportive and committed, and the work they are doing is truly amazing.

While I was there they were working on a campaign to get 500 clean cookstoves installed in Guatemala, which has huge benefits for human health and the local economy as well as slowing deforestation and climate change.

They also work with the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center and Lakota Solar Enterprises on Pine Ridge and have recently helped a Lakota family to build a compressed earth house, complete with solar panels and a solar air heater. The solar air heating systems are manufactured at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, which provides jobs local people, and also trains people from other First Nations to take the technology back to their own communities.

Former staff

Rating: 5

TWP is an organization that has found an intersection where renewable energy, sustainable building technology, and food sovereignty can empower and improve impoverished communities. Their work explores vital new frontiers in the fight to eradicate poverty in places such as the Pine Ridge Reservation, and the employees are driven people who are passionate about the work they do.