Tree Planting Event 2012 - All you need to know

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Join us at our next tree planting event on 18 March 2012 - from 10.00 to 16.00 - in the Foręt de Soignes / Zoniënwoud which will be dedicated to Wangari Maathai. Check out this list of frequently asked questions and watch out for updates on this website, on our Facebook page and in our newsletter

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Have a look at a speciment of the gift certificate.


site conditions: Whilst we are expecting nice weather on the day, please note that this is a forest site with muddy and uneven conditions, we advise you to dress appropriately.

transport: for those wishing to use public transport, there will be a shuttle bus running between Boisfort train station and the planting site between 12.00 and 15.00. The shuttle, kindly provided by the International Montessori School, will run about every 30 minutes, approximately on the hour and half hour. If you plan to use the shuttle or would like more details please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Frequently asked questions

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sunbeams is proud to co-operate with the United Nations Environment  Programme's Billion Tree Campaign.
plant trees with us to reduce your carbon footprint

1. What is Sunbeams?

Sunbeams is a non-profit organization focused on bringing expatriates and Belgians together on nature and the environment. We are an international group of enthusiastic volunteers that provide practical-oriented information on an eco-friendly lifestyle to expats living in Belgium. We write articles, make presentations, conduct workshops and organize events.

2. What is ANB?

ANB (Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos), the Flemish governmental agency dealing with forests. They take care of the permission to turn a plot of land into a forest, prepare the ground and work with local forest rangers to select the appropriate species to be planted. They do a lot of activities on trees, publish a magazine and are very active in the UN Billion Tree Campaign.

3. What is the UNEP Billion Tree Campaign?

On 8 November 2006, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the new campaign 'Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign' which encourages all sectors of society to plant at least one billion trees worldwide each year. In a call to further action, the UNEP set a new goal of planting14 billion trees.. Every individual or organization is encouraged to register their pledges and planted trees online while ensuring that the trees planted are indigenous and appropriate for the local environment.

4. How do I register my pledges and trees with the UN billion tree campagin?

You don't need to worry about registering your trees. Sunbeams will register all of the pledges and trees on your behalf. This way we can insure that every tree is counted, but not counted twice.

5. Where can I find more information on the Billion Tree Campaign?

The UNEP has created a wonderful website that can provide you with further information regarding the campaign.

6. How much does it cost to plant a tree?

The cost to plant one indigenous tree is 5 euros. This price not only covers the tree, but includes the organization of the event, the land preparation including pre-dug holes, the tools needed to plant the tree(s), a biodegradable ribbon upon which to write your own 'special message' and a sticker identifying your participation and commitment to the environment. You will receive your sticker and ribbon(s) the day of the event (if you have not received them prior). Part of your contribution will go to a tree planting campaign of the Jane Goodall Institute in Congo (Africa). Last year we raised money to plant 1100 trees in Africa. For more info click here

7. Does all the money raised go to planting trees at this event?

Yes, the money collected from your school will be used entirely to plant the trees. Any surplus from the Belgian tree planting will be donated to the tree planting operation of JGI Congo, where it will be used to plant trees connecting two nature reserves for the wildlife to migrate between the two reserves. There will be no profit or fee for Sunbeams, ANB or the UNEP. 

8. Can I donate without attending the event on 18 March?

Yes. You do not have to be present at the event to 'plant a tree'. However, we do encourage everyone that is interested to join us that day.

9. Can I plant more than one tree?

Absolutely! It is perfectly feasible for a person to plant 10-20 trees at the event. All the holes will be predug, so it should not take a long time to plant one tree. If you or your children would get too tired to plant all of them, we will help you to plant the remaining trees by the end of the day.

10. Do you have a system in place for the fundraising?

We propose the use of our pledge sheet which will be available on our website. This allows not only the students/yourself to participate, but also family and friends that may be interested to sponsor trees.

11. How can we give students a feeling of ownership of their tree?

We suggest to use our downloadable saving cards. These cards will allow the children to "earn" their own tree in 5 steps.

12. What are the saving cards used for?

These could be used by the children at home, where the parents can agree upon some chores with them. They are not obligatory, but just a tool we offer. It can also be use for students not wishing to use the pledge sheets, but wanting to raise the money themselves. We would like the children to keep their saving cards and bring them to the event with their name on it: we will attached them to a big board and make a nice picture of it.

13. Can we contact Sunbeams for fundraising ideas at our school?

Yes you can! If after having read questions 9 -12you have need for further assistance, please feel free to contact us and we will do what we can to help.

14. Could Sunbeams make a presentation at our school/university/organization ?

Yes, we can! We did this in the past and talk about Wangari Maathai, the UN billion tree campaign, the tree planting event, the fundraising part and – if requested – we dress up as trees. Schools which had a Sunbeams presentation in the past are invited to give some of their students a leader role and make presentations in other classes.

15. Who was Wangari Maathai and why is the tree planting event dedicated to her?

Professor Wangari Maathai was the founder of Kenya's Green Belt Movement, which has planted more than 30 million trees in 12 African countries since 1977. She inspired the UN billion tree campaign. The first tree planted at the first Sunbeams forest in 2010 was dedicated to her. This time, in March 2012 the Sunbeams tree planting event will be dedicated to her.

16. What is the deadline for receiving pledges and the money transfer?

We wil accept pledges until all trees are sold. Pledges can be paid by bank transfer (see 18. below) until Wednesday 13 March, after that date please bring proof of payment, or cash. 
If trees are stil available we will however take donations up to the day of the event.

17. How is the money collected?

We ask you kindly to make a bank transfer to the Sunbeams account mentioning your name and amount of trees. We ask that schools have a designated person or system in place to collect the money for the entireschool/class(es). Once all pledges have been received, we kindly ask that you send us one amount on behalf of the entire school.

18. What is the Sunbeams account number?

Our account is with Triodos bank: 523-0803235-53. Please clearly mention the Tree Planting Event AND full name of yourself, your organization/school when you do the transfer.

19. What if someone is uncomfortable with giving cash or is giving a larger donation?

We then ask that they contact us directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We can then give them the information necessary to make their own deposit.

20. Are there age restrictions to planting a tree?

Anyone over the age of 5 years is welcome to plant their own tree after a short demonstration on the appropriate way to do it. After the event a park ranger will then 'double check' all of the planted trees. Children below the age of 5 can plant a tree with the help of an adult.

21. Will you provide education materials or a presentation to the students prior to the event?

As a prize to the first 10 schools that commit to participate at the event, we, along with ANB, will come to the school and put on an educational and funny presentation on the types of trees that will be planted as well as their importance to the environment. If you are among the first to commit, you will be notified as soon as possible and an appointment for our visit in February will be made.

site mapthumb22. Where is the forest going to be planted?

This year the forest will be planted in the Foręt de Soignes/Zoniënwoud on the outskirts of Brussels, close to the castle of Groenendaal, Hoeilaert. Click here to see the location

23. Is transportation to and from the event provided?

We are working on the logistics of transportation. We will organize a bus leaving from from Molenbeek (exact time and place to be confirmed) and a shuttle bus will operate between Boisfort train station and the tree planting site between 12h00 and 15h00.  

24. How was the location chosen?

This location was chosen specifically for sunbeans by our partner ANB.

25. What do we need to bring to the event?

All of the tools needed to plant your tree(s) will be provided for you. You just need to wear comfortable and appropriate outdoor clothing suitable for getting a little dirty. Wellington boots or water tight boots are recommended. You are most welcome to bring some foldable chairs or tables to have your picnic or little party.

26. Will food be provided?

Organic soup will be provided free by You are also welcome to bring your own picnic to enjoy beside your tree.

27. How will we know where to plant our trees?

We will have volunteers present to direct you. The plot of land will be divided into sections: free planting areas and sections for your school/organization/company.

28. What is the best time for our school to come to the event?

Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to find the most suitable time for your school to meet there. The forest association would like us to group the schools in order to be able to guide groups of 20 children at a time to actually plant the trees. It will also make it easier for parents to find the school at the event and to meet up with other parents.

29. How will the students remain safe?

As we are a small organization and do not have the volunteer capacity to look after every section, we ask that the school provides supervision over their designated space. Whether this be teachers or parents is at the school's discretion.

30. How do I receive more information about the event?

Check back here for all the latest information. Please feel free to contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any specific questions you may have

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