Kat O’Lone is our new regional coordinator from the United States. We asked Kat to tell us a little bit about herself:
First, I want to show you a picture of my childhood in Poland. This is my grandpa, Tadeusz, and me.
Why I have to show you this picture before anything else is because my grandpa had a huge impact on me as a child. I remember that Grandpa was always both hardworking and caring.
Growing up, we had a lot of land. On this land, we grew many fruits and vegetables including an apple and cherry orchard. Also, we had many animals such as chickens, rabbits, pigs, and a milking cow.
Both of my grandparents worked tirelessly in the fields. They cared for our farm animals with kindness. I loved helping them. I loved spending time together with them.
I am grateful for the many stories and lessons they passed on to me. This is especially true of my grandpa.
I loved growing up around animals. I always had a natural sense of responsibility and care for all the nature around me. Whenever I saw someone litter or purposely tease or harm animals, I just could not understand why someone would do such things. It was very strange and unnatural to me.
I have a funny memory from my childhood involving my sweet cousin, Joanna. We were the same age and very close.
Joanna lived in an apartment building with a concrete playground in a small city. When we were young, she would spend the summers with me at our homestead.
Being children of the 80s, we spent most of the time playing outdoors. Since I always loved climbing trees, that is exactly what I wanted to do with her. I thought of trees as my friends. I would climb them. I would hang on their branches. I would even talk to them telling them my secrets.
Naturally, I had a hard time understanding why my cousin was so awkward climbing. I thought everyone possessed basic, tree climbing skills. When I saw her struggle to get up the branches and sometimes fall, I was completely shocked.
I am not ashamed to admit that, even as a 40-year-old, I still happily climb trees not to mention that I talk to them regularly.
I have been living in the USA for over 20 years, now. For the past decade, I have been living a very happy, simple life with my son and husband in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Last year, I rescued a little, gray squirrel in my garden. This inadvertently changed my life leading me to the Global Tree Initiative. One of my favorite quotes by the Dalai Lama says:
“As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is, therefore, part of our responsibility toward others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier than we found it.”
Especially in the past decade, I have been consciously trying to focus exactly on what the Dalai Lama says, starting with myself, my family unit, and my household. Still, I felt like I was not doing enough. I wanted to do more. I just did not know where to start.
When I connected with Global Tree Initiative (GTI), I felt like I finally found “My people.” As I had never questioned the importance and benefits of tree planting, GTI’s mission and philosophy naturally resonated with me and my core beliefs. I truly believe that together, we can achieve so much more. I am excited to be part of GTI’s wonderful and caring global family.
Currently, I have a few projects I am working on. I look forward to sharing the results, soon.
Before I do that, however, I want to share my motivation behind our first undertaking to benefit GTI. It is Bonnie’s, month-long, birthday fundraiser!
Miss Bonnie has a rapidly growing fanbase on TikTok. Since starting her account last fall, she has already made some earnings.
I intended to share cute and funny moments with Bonnie as well as educate her fans about squirrels in general. I was never seeking fame or wanting to go viral. Regardless, Bonnie is undeniably a little superstar. She has numerous viral videos already.
On August 1st, which was the day we celebrated Bonnie’s 1st birthday, we kicked off her big, birthday fundraiser. I donated all her Tiktok revenue to Global Tree Initiative. The total amount was $59.09. I hope it motivates others to donate as well.
I think of it this way. If someone makes me laugh, I would want to take them out for tea or coffee. So, donating an equivalent amount to a positive, global cause in their name instead would be a no-brainer for me.
We are grateful to all who donated so far. I am happy for the opportunity to practice my generosity with Bonnie. It makes her silly TikToks special and worthwhile. It proves that just like Greta Thunberg said, “You’re never too small to make a difference.”
There are still 16 days left to celebrate Bonnie’s first year of life. Please, help Bonnie and Kat feel a big GTI welcome with your generosity.
Give now to support the Global Tree Initiative.