“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not.” –The Lorax, Dr. Seuss
Luckily for the Kern River Valley, someone does care a whole awful lot – 7-year-old Jasmine Bellino from South Fork Elementary. At the South Fork Woman's Club (SFWC) meeting Thursday afternoon, May 10, Bellino donated $272 through the Pennies for Pines Program, enough money to plant four plantations (800 trees).
Bellino's mother, Christine Watson, said the idea stemmed from a trip to the movie theater. “We went and watched The Lorax, and after that, she just said she wanted to do something to save the trees,” said Watson, smiling.
According to Watson, Bellino's great-grandmother knew a few people in the right department and was able to get the ball rolling. A March meeting with SFWC Secretary Nina Wiseman led to an explanation of Pennies for Pines, a national conservation project designed to aid in reforestation. For $68, said Wiseman, the foundation could create a plantation of 200 trees. Little did she know that – after six weeks of asking friends, family, and family's co-workers for donations – Bellino would raise four times that amount.
Bellino said she had fun telling people about the program and collecting money. Watson commented, “She's really kind-hearted and she just felt bad for the trees.”
For her efforts, Bellino received a certificate of appreciation and several gifts honoring her hard work. She will also receive a certificate in the mail saying when and where her trees will be planted, though some have indicated that it may be in the burn area above Kernville.
Every year, 3 billion to 6 billion trees are cut down, according to a recent study from Green Facts. In addition, thousands of animal species are forced out of their homes and may become extinct. Thanks to people, especially young children, like Bellino, we have hope that our forests will live long into the future. Bellino embodies the the Once-ler's words from The Lorax: “You're in charge of the last of the truffula seeds. And truffula trees are what everyone needs! Plant a new truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water, and feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax, and all of his friends may... come back.”
L>R: South Fork Woman's Club President Mary Lou Ellis, Jasmine Bellino, Christine Watson (Bellino's mother). Ellis presents Bellino with a certificate and gifts of appreciation for her efforts in raising $272 to plant trees as part of the Pennies for Pines Program last Thursday, May 10. Administrator, KRVR.org email@example.com
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