Bicentenary inspires gift of trees

22 September 2017
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SANTIAGO, Chile — The Baha’i community of Chile recently donated 2,000 trees to the city of Santiago.

This gift came from the Native Flora Project, a tree-planting initiative at the Baha’i House of Worship in Chile. The trees were donated in honor of the upcoming bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, which will be celebrated next month on 21 and 22 October.

The Mayor of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Claudio Orrego, visited the House of Worship to accept the donation on behalf of the city and to learn about the tree-planting project.

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The trees donated to Santiago were raised on the land surrounding the Baha’i House of Worship. The community donated some of these plants to the city, where they will be planted in parks and other areas.

Since the beginning of construction on the House of Worship, hundreds of volunteers have been gathering at the Temple site every weekend to plant trees, and more than 9,000 trees and hundreds of other plants now flourish on the land.

The community was inspired to start the project after reflecting on the potential contribution of the House of Worship to the surrounding area.

Maggy Canales is one of the organizers of the Native Flora Project. She explained that the project is improving the conditions of the forest’s ecosystem, and it has brought the community together to work for the conservation of native plant species.

Members of Santiago’s community from students to environmental NGOs to scout troops have all volunteered their time to the project. Many of the seeds are collected from the trees growing in the foothills of the Andes and planted in a greenhouse on the Temple land. These trees have been planted around the Temple or donated to local schools and communities within and around Santiago.

Mayor Orrego spoke about the significant impact of the House of Worship on the well-being of Santiago, calling it a “great gift for everyone.” During his visit, Mr. Orrego spoke with volunteers at the greenhouse and expressed his appreciation for the many opportunities that the Temple has opened for Santiago.

The trees donated by the Baha’is will be planted in parks, in medians on city roads, and next to streams in areas of the city without much vegetation.