A Million Trees turns into a Billion

Part of my 2007 tree planting endeavors

“We cannot protect the earth by just talking aboutWangari Maathai with Nobel Prize it. We have to do something and one of the simplest and most doable actions is to plant a tree because all you have to do is dig a hole.”

-Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Laureate

This simple idea of planting trees inspired Dr. Wangari Maathai to start The Greenbelt Movement” that changed the face of her native Kenya and led her to a leadership role across Africa and the world. I had the distinct pleasure to hear her speak in 2005 at the Shaklee Global Conference one year after she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her environmental work. This was the beginning of her affiliation and partnership with Shaklee to continue her mission to inspire people to take action.

We all can make a difference and here is what happens when two great leaders join together with a common vision.

2005 Roger Barnett Shaklee CEO bestows on his friend Wangari Maathai the title of “Honorary Master Coordinator” when she meets the Shaklee family for the first time at our global conference.
Click here to hear Wangari’s daughter  Wanjira ” explaining why this was a “badge she wore with great pride”.

Click here to watch Dr. Maathi inspire the Shaklee family to “Do the Best that we Can” with the story of the Hummingbird.
2006 Shaklee launches A Million Trees A Million Dreams project to plant a million trees in North America in honor of our 50th anniversary.

Independent Shaklee distributors along with staff from our home office started planting trees all across U.S. and Canada.

2007 I got inspired (and busy) here in Wisconsin and partnered up with Cub Scouts, local environmental enthusiasts and friends and planted over 200 trees. We planted white pine and spruce seedlings acquired from the Wisconsin DNR and aspen trees donated by the University of Wisconsin Entomology Department. Trees were planted in Cross Plains, Mazomanie and DeForest. See the end of the story for an update.

2009 Dr. Maathai joins Roger Barnett at corporate headquarters to plant the Millionth Tree. We made it!

Our accomplishment inspires Wangari to approach and challenge the UN to launch a campaign to plant a billion trees worldwide. Hence the United Nations Billion Trees Campaign was launched!

2011 It is with great sadness that the family of Professor Maathai announces her passing away after a prolonged battle with cancer.

2012 The Launch of The Hummingbird Project. Shaklee partners again with the Greenbelt Movement with the Hummingbird Project. A campaign to plant a billion trees in honor of Wangari.

Click here for an overview of our partnership with Dr. Maathai  and an invitation to participate in The Hummingbird Project.

A message from Roger Barnett about the Hummingbird Project

You can join us in these efforts. Go dig a hole, plant a tree and email your tree count to earthday@earthday.com

Consider filling out a Tree Planting Pledge Card

David and the trees have grown in five years!

Five years later – I was wondering what happened to all those trees we planted and I am happy to report – most of them survived!



Learn more about the Greenbelt Movement.




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