Tree Hugger

02 Nov

treesMy Grandpa started it. Now I’m one too. Not the radical activist type, just the love to plant and care for trees and think they’re a gift of nature type. I have so many memories of Grandpa Joe and trees. From scolding us for climbing the young ones, to caring for his apple trees, to planting the now huge Colorado spruce in Mom and Dad’s front yard when I was 5 (right after he had a stroke). He truly loved them, and planted hundreds and hundreds of them in his lifetime.

Dad loves them too, and Paul and I grew up caring for a thousand of ’em–pulling weeds and watering them for years and years. It was often punishment for some thing or another (which is why Paul was out there about every day), 🙂 but I never told Dad I really enjoyed my time with the trees. I think he knew it anyway.

I remember being devastated when Dad had the old grove around our place torn out when I was young. It was time for renewal, but I sure didn’t understand it then. Now, 20 years later, Mom and Dad’s place is surrounded by gorgeous trees. Dad gave us six of those beautiful 10-foot Colorado spruce when we built our house. We moved them and, after some TLC, they’re doing great now. I figure I had quite a bit of sweat equity on those suckers anyway, but I’m grateful for the trees, Dad.

I knew Grandpa was a member of Arbor Day Foundation, and remember him getting free trees sometimes from them. So, when we built our house a couple years ago–on top of a treeless, clay-soil hill–I joined Arbor Day to get some trees. I’ve become a big fan. And it’s got me thinking.

Today is Grandpa Joe’s birthday. What if we started, in his honor, a “tree foundation” here? Nothing big or fancy, just an endowment fund for Bartmann family and friends to throw in a few bucks once in a while in Grandpa’s memory. We would then use the interest to buy some trees each year and plant them in places Grandpa would have: churches, cemeteries, streets, farm yards, etc. (We could even send some out tograndpajoe logo Colorado or Madison once in a while too.) It would probably start small, but could turn into a cool tradition for the Bartmanns. If we set it up right, the donations would be tax-deductible.

I would organize the whole thing, but would need others to help for sure. Let me know what you think about starting the Grandpa Joe Tree Foundation. (I’ve even set up a logo and a domain name.) Comments are always open.


Posted by on November 2, 2006 in Celebrations, Family, Growing Up


4 responses to “Tree Hugger

  1. Kelly (mom)

    November 4, 2006 at 11:29 am

    Great idea! I’m in–Are you going to get it set up as a non-profit? How do you do that with such a small group?


  2. Paul

    November 8, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    I am all for it. I think Johnstown may be just the place to get this thing rolling!!!

  3. Robert Smith

    January 3, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Hello Joe,

    I happen to work for the National Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska. It was great to learn about your Grandfather Joe and how he shared his love of trees with you. Thank you for planting and caring for trees.

    Sincerely, Robert

  4. joe bart

    January 3, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks for noticing us, Robert! I’ve become a big fan of Arbor Day Foundation, and once we get our little project rolling here, we’ll be ordering plenty of trees from you. Congrats on the recent partnership with Enterprise to plant 50 million (!) trees! (see I’ve been a pretty loyal customer for Enterprise, and will stay that way for sure now.

    As a matter of fact, I will be visiting Arbor Day Farm next week as part of a four-day workshop at Lied Lodge(I’m part of the Meadowlark Lab Team). Really looking forward to it!


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