On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day that inspires volunteerism, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) celebrates its annual Tree Planting Day, which takes place the third Monday in January each year.
Tree-planting season in Morocco begins in mid-December, when the rains have come to loosen the soil and feed the earth. From then, HAF has a short three-month window in which to transplant all of the trees that have been growing in its 12 nurseries that are co-managed with local communities.
This year, HAF is in the process of transplanting 1 million trees with communities, associations, and schools around Morocco. It is also planting 1.6 million seeds in the 12 nurseries to bring them back to full capacity.
HAF’s team has already planted approximately 200,000 trees in communities since the season began, and it is working hard to plant the remaining trees before the end of March.
Anyone - from anywhere in the world - can help to deliver these saplings, grow trees in Morocco, uplift marginalized communities, and take vast strides toward ending rural poverty by planting trees in the name of a loved one or simply giving.
HAF Program Manager Errachid Montassir will take over HAF's stories on Instagram & Facebook from the field on Tree Planting Day - January 18 - when HAF's team plants trees with communities across Morocco simultaneously.
Join HAF's Tree Planting Activities Virtually
Anyone can follow Tree Planting Day activities on HAF’s Facebook and Instagram to watch as the team plants trees with communities all over Morocco in provinces as far south as Boujdour, as far east as Figuig, and as high as Al Haouz.
HAF Farmer-to-Farmer Project Manager Errachid Montassir will post live stories throughout the day as he travels to the field to plant trees with community members.
HAF will also be posting every hour on the hour between 8:00 GMT (2:00 AM EST) and 23:00 GMT (5:00 PM EST).
Supporters and followers can tune in to watch President Yossef Ben-Meir broadcast live from Tamnsourt, near Marrakech; tour the Akrich, Tassa Ourigane, and Tadmamt nurseries; learn how to plant a carob tree and an argan seed with HAF Project Manager Said Bennani; and join a climate change presentation from HAF Field Coordinator Karam Azzabi. There will also be tree poetry from HAF Director of Programs Imane Akhezzane.
Tree-planting with HAF in Morocco
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) with its community, government, and civil partners currently manages 12 organic fruit tree nurseries in 7 provinces of Morocco, all on land lent in-kind. These partners include: The High Commission of Waters and Forests, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Moroccan public-school system, the Moroccan Jewish community, cooperatives and associations across the country, and various universities and provincial authorities.
The total capacity of HAF’s nurseries is 2.44 million seeds through 2021, primarily funded by Ecosia, UWC Robert Bosch College, and FRÉ Skincare. The sapling varieties grown at HAF’s nurseries include almond, argan, carob, cherry, fig, olive, pomegranate, and walnut.
HAF’s production of fruit trees for Moroccan families, schools, and communities not only benefits their livelihoods and environments but also helps preserve their cultural heritage and build highly productive partnerships between the people, their government, and various intercultural groups.
HAF’s organic fruit tree nurseries are of critical importance to farming families as they make the transition from the traditional staples of barley and corn – which cover 70% of agricultural land, but only produce 15% of agricultural income – to the cultivation of fruit tree varieties.
Planting trees around Morocco on Martin Luther King Day encourages volunteerism and promotes economic empowerment in marginalized communities.
Why Martin Luther King Day?
MLK Day was established to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the famed American preacher and civil rights activist. It officially became a national day of service in 1994, encouraging Americans to devote the day to volunteer acts.
The High Atlas Foundation was formed by the vision and drive of former Peace Corps Volunteers. Since its establishment in 2000, HAF has carried the tradition of service and flourished because of the support of passionate interns and volunteers to help further the organization’s mission.
On Martin Luther King Day, HAF calls into action the volunteer spirit of our staff, engaging small teams to travel all across Morocco to plant trees in rural villages in multiple provinces simultaneously, embracing the activism spirit of Dr. King, and calling upon others to do the same to plant a million trees this tree-planting season.
ABOUT THE HIGH ATLAS FOUNDATION:
The High Atlas Foundation is a Moroccan association and a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps Volunteers committed to furthering sustainable development. HAF supports Moroccan communities to take action in implementing human development initiatives. HAF promotes organic agriculture, women’s empowerment, youth development, education, and health. Since 2011, HAF has Consultancy Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.