In loving memory of our fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Mr. Tom Tolen, who served in Morocco from 1980 to 1982, a community fruit tree nursery will be created to socio-economically and environmentally benefit the villages neighboring the Tazekka National Park, near where Tom served. The 80,000 cherry and walnut saplings that will be planted in the nursery (varieties which do not require the application of pesticides) will on average double household incomes after 8 years, benefitting approximately 10,000 people. The Memorial project will strengthen the local environment by preventing soil erosion, offsetting carbon emissions, and creating new income sources within the village area thereby decreasing local people’s dependence on the natural resources of the Tazekka National Park. Furthermore, the approach of building a community-managed nursery – whereby saplings are planted for two years and then distributed to households to be planted in their individual orchards, versus the memorial project directly purchasing two year old trees from existing private nurseries and then distributing them to households – provides special advantages:
- • Saplings are approximately one-third the cost of two year old trees;
- • Community nurseries involve the transfer of important technical skills that enable rural people to replenish their own orchards in the future; and
- • Nurseries are innovative profit-making enterprises and are necessary to meet the immense demand for fruit trees by rural Moroccan communities as they transition from subsistence to modern agricultural practices.
The investment in order to fully implement Tom’s Nursery Memorial is $50,000.
How to Contribute to Tom Tolen’s Memorial
- Your contribution to the Tom Tolen Tree Nursery Memorial helps local communities purchase cherry and walnut saplings for the nursery and supports workshops that transfer important technical skills in fruit tree agriculture. You can make a secure online donation or donate by check (when donating online please send us an email to let us know you would like your donation to be directed to the Tom Tolen Memorial and when donating by check simply indicate so in the memo).
- The High Atlas Foundation was founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Morocco as a way to utilize the relationships and knowledge gained during their service for the continued benefit of the Moroccan people. HAF is a US 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a registered Moroccan association. In 2006, HAF launched its One Million Tree Campaign and has planted with its community partners 310,000 fruit trees and saplings in five provinces of Morocco.
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