Treetracker Spotlight: Nelson Kerbyson
Hi everyone! Welcome back to Treetracker Spotlights! Each month, we feature one of our fabulous Treetracker app users to showcase the organizations that we are proud to work with. This month, we interviewed Nelson Kerbyson, a Treetracker at The Haiti Tree Project.
Nelson Kerbyson is the lead Treetracker for The Haiti Tree Project. After tree growers plant their trees and begin caring for them, Nelson visits them periodically to take tree photo captures using the Treetracker app on his phone. When he arrives, Nelson says that the tree growers are excited to see him, because they know that the photos he takes will translate into compensation for their environmental stewardship. Moreover, The Haiti Tree Project trains its growers on proper tree care and the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems. Therefore, participants are happy to restore deforested lands and take Haiti’s future into their own hands.
Every Treetracker project is different. The Haiti Tree Project (THTP) runs local nurseries in which any member of the public can take trees free of charge and plant them on their own land. THTP also accepts written requests for large numbers of trees to be transported to communities who wish to cover their land with newly planted trees. In addition to private land plantings, THTP strives to plant trees on mountains to increase watershed health, thereby increasing the amount of available clean water to the people of the area.
Based in the village of Sucrerie Henry, a typical day of Treetracking for Nelson begins with hiring a motorcycle taxi to transport him throughout Saint Louis-de-Sud. He finds the Treetracker app fun and easy to use, so he is able to track between 800 and 1000 trees per day! Nelson has found that tree growers are most excited to grow fruit and wood trees; fruit trees provide food and a potential source of income via selling the fruit, and wood trees can provide lumber or charcoal in a desperate situation. Nelson knows that his regular visits remind people of the importance of bringing back the forests their elders once had and not repeating recent history by devastating the land with clearcuts. He enjoys working for an environmental cause because it benefits his health and his community. When he isn’t tracking trees, like most young men in Haiti, he enjoys playing soccer, but more importantly, he hopes to go to school one day to learn how to develop applications like the Treetracker to help solve real world problems.
The Haiti Tree Project’s work has been vital to the sustainable development of local Haitian communities. Environmental initiatives, like reforestation projects, are more effective when participants understand the importance of their work. According to Nelson, the tree growers he’s spoken to are not just excited about the economic benefits that reforestation will bring, but they recognize that their work is an investment in the future of their country. By cultivating a culture in which people are passionate about ecosystem restoration, Nelson and his colleagues at The Haiti Tree Project have set the nation up for success. Greenstand sees that in Haiti, by financially incentivizing people to grow trees, the mindsets and behaviors of individuals change from cutting trees for temporary income to growing trees to maintain prosperity.
While the revenue from the sale of Impact Tokens covers basic compensation for growers, it's the generosity of donors that allows THTP to provide training and education with every tree given and to make mountaintop reforestation projects possible. It's those mountaintop plantings that are at the heart of the THTP mission. Please consider making a donation to support THTP here.