Top Highlights from 2023 US Virtual Community Meeting

On February 9, 2023, the US community gathered for our first-ever, all-hands virtual meeting. After a successful in-person Summit last summer, our community requested more opportunities to connect as a full community. We loved hearing about the incredible successes that the US community has been making toward our goal to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees by 2030! 


Download a copy here: US Community Meeting Slides.


These resources were shared during the meeting via chat and participants.



Updates from New and Existing Pledges

Meta & National Indian Carbon Coalition

Tracy Johns, Carbon Removal Specialist for Meta

Bryan Van Stippen, Program Director for National Indian Carbon Coalition

  • Tracy discussed that Meta is thrilled to be a part of US! Nature based solutions represent the bulk of their efforts to reach their net zero commitment by 2030. Meta is focused on engaging in projects with indigenous communities and on indigenous lands. 
  • The pledge will focus on Indigenous leadership for land restoration, with the help of the National Indian Carbon Coalition. Together, they will develop carbon projects that center indigenous leadership and traditional ecological knowledge for the protection and restoration of forest lands. 

Girl Scouts of the USA

Amanda Eyrich Daly, Senior Director Girl Scout Experience, Girl Scouts of the USA

Zainab Ali, Intern for Girl Scout Tree Promise

  • Girl Scout Tree Promise was started in 2021 and sets out to plant 5 million trees that protect newly planted and existing trees, engage with citizen science projects and honor trees on camp properties and in local communities. So far, this program has planted 97,330+ trees, but has identified over 740,000 supporting actions towards our goals!

Updates from Global

Lindsey Prowse, Lead, North America & Youth Engagement – trillion trees platform, World Economic Forum

  • The community in the Sahel region launched a new alliance to boost opportunities for ecopreneurs and improve restoration-based value chains.
  • In India, we have five companies pledging over 113 million trees. 
  • The Mexico Chapter launched in partnership with the Mexican Alliance for Ecosystem Restoration last fall. 

 UpLink Challenge Cohort Representatives

Meghan Hertel, North American Director for Land Life

  • For the last 9 years, Land Life has continued to bring technology to the end-to-end reforestation process in partnership with local communities. Last year, they planted 4 million trees. 

Daniel Mouen Makoua, Co-Founder, Managing Director for Zulu Forest Sciences

  • Their objective is simple: to restore forest ecosystems at scale and in the process, provide the natural biodiversity that we are losing at great speeds. With scientists and technological specialists they have built a strong team to execute their strategies. Within a year of active operation, Zulu Forest Sciences is undertaking the largest forest restoration project in the UK.

Community of Practice: Connect with Working Groups

Trey Lord, Senior Technical Manager, US, American Forests


  • We want to work together to create an active community among our pledges. Our 5 working groups: Carbon Finance, Forest Policy, International Forests, Reforestation, and Urban & Community Forests. In addition to partnering with these working groups, if you would like to contribute in another way (sponsoring or presenting a paper, contribute your time to write and research, etc) reach out to Trey:

    Please sign-up for working groups here

Joel Elliott, Senior Director Federal Affairs at Salesforce

  • Joel helps lead our domestic forest policy working group. The Forest Policy working group was created in 2021 working hand and glove with American Forests. They are now partnered with REI. Soon, they will be presenting their ideas to leadership, which will be the roadmap for this working group for the next 2 years.  

Joel O. Pannell, Vice President of Urban Forest Policy of American Forests

Urban and Community Forestry

  • A lot of focus remains to be on implementation of forestry investment from the bipartisan Infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction act. We are starting to see these investments in action. The Senate Agriculture Committee is accepting recommendations on the Farm Bill (If you’re interested: go to their website and submit priorities). Try to get these priorities in before the hearing in March. Though our government is divided, we are hoping to see more of a focus on forestry on the House side. 

Dan Lambe, CEO of Arbor Day Foundation

  • Co-chair of Urban Community Forest Working Group.
  • Since the start of the US chapter, there has been more traction in the urban forestry space. There is a working group call on February 21. Arbor Day Foundation and many other US pledges are hosting the World Forum on Urban Forests in October (16-20, 2023) in Washington D.C. 

Alicia Grimes, USAID Representative 

  • Co-chair of the International Working Group. 
  • At COP27, USAID was the first Federal Government pledge to the US chapter. Their pledge is in alignment with their climate change strategy that was launched last Earth Day: To conserve, restore and better manage 100 million hectares of critical ecosystems. The next International Forest working group will take place on February 28.

Key Perspectives: Updates from the Community

Dr. Shobha Maharaj, Science Director for Terraformation

  • Terraformation is a US-based tech company that helps solve climate change by scaling native forest restoration. Their Forestry-Backed Assets Design describes that bundling forest assets within and across geographies, as well as across vintages (forest age) can greatly reduce carbon sequestration volatility and wildlife risk. They have established the Seed to Forest Alliance which will enable rapid scaling of native forest restoration around the globe by focusing on seed supply.

Chris Swanston, PhD, Forest Service Climate Advisor and Director of Office of Sustainability and Climate, USFS

  • Their biggest effort is reforestation. This was made possible by the Replant Act as well as the Inflation Reduction Act. They were able to invest $100,000 in reforestation. We need to ensure that reforested forests stay healthy. 

City of Houston

Priya Zachariah, AICP, Chief Resilience and Sustainability Officer for City of Houston

  • Planting 4.6 million new native trees by 2030. They are partnering with the parks department to create an online tree tracker. The city has recently passed the Linear Forest Initiative and the Riparian Restoration Initiative. 

Wrap Up: Announcements and Closing Remarks

Kevin J. Patel, Founder and Executive Director of OneUpAction International

  • It is critical that we engage the next generation of leaders! It is essential that we equip these young people with the skills, knowledge and passion needed to carry out this work! 


Additionally, we are thrilled to announce that the US Summit will be hosted at the Salesforce Tower in New York City from June 13 to June 15. This year we are pleased to share that we will accept proposals for sessions, and we will launch a Summit Steering Committee to review and prioritize sessions. If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague to join the Steering Committee, please reach out to Julie Foster ( You can also reach out if you have any recommendations or input you’d like for us to consider.