Magazine article American Forests

Emily Barber, Marketing Manager

Magazine article American Forests

Emily Barber, Marketing Manager

Article excerpt

I'VE ALWAYS BEEN DRAWN to cities--the busy streets, bright colors, endless restaurants and general chaos all fascinate me. But while I love city life and all the excitement that goes along with it, nature is my solace. The city energizes me, but nature calms me. The extrovert in me thrives in cities, but my introverted side is replenished by a walk in the woods. These two sides might seem contradictoiy, but they found the perfect middle ground when I traveled to New York City to help American Forests and LightStream host a pop-up forest in the middle of Times Square.

One night in October, a very hardworking events team built a forest over night, starting at 10 p.m. and working until dawn the next day. At 7 a.m., much to the delight of New Yorkers and tourists alike, a grove of real trees and shrubs stood in the plaza outside the "Good Morning America" studio. City birds flitted in and out of the leaves, relishing their makeshift homes for a day.

Inside the forest, participants found signs with forest facts and even met reallife forest animals. At the end of their journey was a photo booth, where visitors could have their pictures taken, receive a photo strip and sign up to have a tree planted in their name. The pictures appeared on a Times Square billboard, complete with a forest backdrop.

LightStream, an online lender, plants a tree for each loan they fund. The Forest of Dreams was a representation of each tree and its corresponding dream made possible through LightStream. The forest celebrated the 1,000 acres of trees planted through our partnership and built momentum for LightStream's commitment to planting an additional 500 acres this year.

Each visitor had a unique reaction. Early in the day, commuter pedestrians slowed down to admire this strange sight. Some were hesitant to come in, but many entered with a coffee in hand and a smile on their face, commenting on how nice it was to have a change in scenery. …

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