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Trees, Water & People

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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

53 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

Before I moved to Fort Collins, I saw TWP's website and new that I needed to be involved with them. Being an intern, it feels great to know that I can help Native Americans honor Mother Earth by living with more sustainable means, such as using and understanding solar power, wind power, organic gardening, reforesting, and using our natural resources as intended. TWP helps us all out!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is an honor that I have been an intern for Trees, Water & People for three years. They are a very hard working, hands-on, dedicated, and noble nonprofit organization. I am so glad that I have been able to help them with their mission of improving disadvantaged people’s lives by teaching them how to protect, conserve, and manage their natural resources upon which their, and everybody else’s, long-term well-being depends on. What a great organization that eventually helps everybody, one family or community at a time, while improving the environment.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

TWP is an exceptional non-profit in that it works at the frontline of energy and the poor in improving lives through low cost applications such as fuel efficient cook stoves and solar air heaters. It does it through working with local organizations at the grassroots level. Ten years ago, I helped TWP set up a tribal lands project to build and install solar air heaters for low income housing. Today it is the largest solar air collector initiative in the country, impacted dozens of reservations and has built one of the only sustainability centers for training in Indian lands on the poorest reservation in the country, Pine Ridge. TWP results speak for themselves.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Trees, Water & People! My relationship with this awesome organization began back in 2012 when I took a road trip with some friends up to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. TWP partners with a Native-owned solar and renewable energy company there. My friends and I helped out in the organic garden called Solar Warrior Farm located at the Red Could Renewable Energy Center campus. This was my first experience being on a reservation, and I learned a lot about Native American culture and the hardships that many American Indians are faced with. This experience left me with a strong desire to continue volunteering with both TWP and the folks at Pine Ridge.

Since that first trip, I have been back to Pine Ridge several times to volunteer with TWP. My relationship with environmentalism and social justice is nurtured through the projects I take part in, and I always leave the reservation feeling more at peace than when I arrived, and with a renewed sense of purpose to keep taking action for change.

I also decided to do my internship here in TWP's Fort Collins office to finish out the requirements for my degree in Environmental Sociology this spring. I really enjoyed getting to learn more about the organization and it's programs, and getting to work more closely with the wonderful staff (so much so, that I decided to stick around and continue volunteering after graduation!). In a way, the volunteer work I get to do with TWP has added to my inspiration to pursue my education further, so I will be starting a master's program in Sustainability and Environmental Management next year.

TWP will always be one of my favorite organizations. I love the mission and purpose, and truly appreciate the hard work they put in to helping our environment!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trees, Water & People cultivates a creative, inspiring work atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoy my work as an intern. I'm challenged to think outside of the box every day.

One of the programs I'm most excited about is the new solar energy solutions: Luciernaga. TWP has been distributing solar lamps and chargers to people in rural communities in Central America who are lacking access to the main grid. The solar lamps and chargers are inexpensive, and proving to be a vital energy resource to those who need it most.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had a lot of different internships and the one with TWP has by far the most rewarding and has taught me the most in preparation for a career in sustainable development. They are very much a collaborative organization rather than to- down type of org, which I admire.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of working with Trees Water and People in a project on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. My coworkers and I have twice traveled to South Dakota to help furnish the Solar Earth Lodge. Trees Water and People is facilitating the production and training of renewable energy for native americans. The Lakota people are trained to build and install solar heaters greatly reducing heating bills. The native americans we worked with were truly working to improve their lives and to protect their planet in partnership with Trees Water and People. The is a grass roots organization that partners with people with great needs and great dignity

Jill68

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The representatives from this organization are hardworking and passionate. TWP's noble cause to help both the environment and the needs of a community benefit us all around the globe. My volunteer experience with TWP was so much fun. Great mission, great people, and educational as well. I hope to participate again in the near future!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trees, Water & People is truly an amazing, hardworking and inspiring organization. This group of dedicated and genuine individuals continuously strive to make positive impacts on people and the environment. As an intern for National Development I am having an extremely beneficial experience learning about the interworkings of a nonprofit and getting the opportunity to be a part of the incredible work TWP is doing nationally. The balance of a human based approach that coexists with the environment is a rare and beautiful thing. I will absolutely continue to stay involved with this organization and support thier endlessly positive impacts.

Fran L

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trees, Water, and People is.a unique organization. They are small enough To have personal contact with The projects they sponsor and large enough to make a real impact through careful planning and collaboration with local groups. I'm excited about the new garden initiative on t he Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I have seen in person how these projects can raise self esteem AND conserve energy on the part of the people receiving help from TWP. I participated in an Ecotour to the reservation sponsored by TWP.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have seen Trees, Water, People's work first hand on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This organization works WITH the Lakota people, empowering them to help themselves. Henry Red Cloud operates a renewable energy center with the help of TWP. He trains Lakota men and women to construct and install solar heaters. Hundreds of reservation families are now warmer while honoring the Earth by reducing their dependence on fossil fuel.

Trees, Water, People also has projects in Central America and Haiti. These help to address the loss of forested land by replacing inefficient and unhealthful cooking stoves with ones requiring 70% less wood, while producing less smoke. Local women are consultants to assure that the type of stove matches the style of cooking in the area. Local entrepreneurs are encouraged to set up factories using local materials. TWP stove owners are delighted with the lower cost of cooking and cleaner air. In Haiti especially the ability to boil water to combat disease is critical.

I highly recommend this organization.

Review from Guidestar

Sherry16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trees, Water & People is an amazing and inspiring non-profit organization, which is why I am an intern for grant researching and writing. They help communities help themselves by teaching them how to continue the work that TWP has helped them begin. By teaching local community members how to improve their home environment (with cleaner burning stoves), how to save energy and utilize what Mother Nature offers (with solar heating), how to grow their own community gardens with healthier and heirloom produce (within a shelter to lengthen the growing season), how to grow and plant trees (to help recover after a natural disaster), and how to reduce their environmental impact footprints, among others, TWP promotes and passes on knowledge and skills to help create a healthier environment for everyone, as we are all connected. There is no better way for a community to help themselves than with using their own hands-on work and experience, and then to continue passing it on to future generations, or even other communities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been included in the Trees, Water & People family for almost a year now as a National Program Intern. I cannot find the right words to describe the amount of gratitude and appreciation I feel for the excellent staff. They are people who truly care, truly want to make the difference, and who will truly go beyond all expectations to achieve positive change. I have witnessed so many community driven activities that help everyone involved to grow, learn, and open their eyes. I believe in the programs TWP has created and look forward to seeing them continue to succeed.

Betsy12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a currently development intern at TWP, I am continuously impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff. It has a been an incredible experience to learn more about the non-profit sector and the necessary resources and hard work for executing high-impact projects. Trees, Water & People are endlessly dedicated to community driven projects that improve the quality of life for individuals. As a student of engineering, I have been very impressed by their ability to connect innovate technology with culturally appropriate solutions. I hope to continue to be involved with TWP and watch their ever growing impact.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As the International Development Intern during Fall 2011, I had wonderful experience with TWP. The staff, and everyone involved for that matter, is dedicated to fulfilling the mission and bettering the local and global communities we live in. I enjoyed the positive energy in the office and the welcoming atmosphere that created a thoughtful and forward thinking work environment.

Holly D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had such a pleasant experience this summer as an international development intern for TWP. The staff was exceedingly welcoming and full of passion for what they do. Each one of TWP's programs is so detailed and well-organized, even though I read up on the organization before the start of my internship, I found myself learning something new about it every day. The knowledge and experience I gained about the meeting point of humanitarian work, grant-writing, and environmental conservation is invaluable.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer on and off for the last few years at TWP and have absolutely loved it! The staff, board and other volunteers are wonderful. Their approach to non-intrusively introducing sustainable, health-improving projects is thorough and deeply rooted in a belief to change communities through their own means and labor!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Trees, Water & People for a year and a half and have loved every moment of my time with them. The work that this organization does to assist communities in protecting and restoring their natural resources has improved the quality of life for so many as well as the land that they live on. My work as a volunteer has evolved over the time I have been with them. Throughout this evolution the staff have always treated me with respect and appreciation, which has only driven me to want to continue my involvement. I am forever grateful for the experiences I have had with them and the ones still to come!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Trees Water People is an extremely impressive NGO, my first experience with them and since then has been nothing but professional, inspiring and fun.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trees, Water & People is an outstanding environmental and developmental nonprofit that is truly satisfying to support. They are very community-minded in their down-to-earth relationships with local people and the organizations they serve. While they have an honest, unpretentious attitude about their mission, they are also extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the technical aspects of silviculture, watershed protection, and small-scale solar energy applications. Best of all, they had the foresight to focus on promoting the use of energy-efficient woodstoves to attack the cause of much deforestation in Central America. This has a wonderful side-benefit to the beneficiaries who adopt these stoves in homes and community buildings: clean indoor air and improved respiratory health.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Trees Water and People is an organization that touches the lives of people in many positive ways. What excites me about this organization is that they develop economically and environmentally motivated solutions for the people in the communities they serve. For example, by getting people in Guatemala and Nicaragua involved in the manufacturing and use of forest saving stoves, they have helped create jobs that encourage healthy and safe living environments and economies. With growth TWP will be able to help people in more and more communities, creating a noticeable difference in the lives of people around the globe.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Trees, Water & People does fantastic work in Colorado, on US Indian reservations and in Central America. I admire their work with stoves and solar applications that help the enviroment and families. They are caring people who also like to have fun raising money; their annual fundraiser is fun to attend.

Review from Guidestar