Displaying items by tag: tpe
Monday, 21 February 2011 13:10

How is the 2010 forest doing?

2010 saw the first ever Sunbeams Tree Planting Event. Here is some up-to-date information on how our forest has fared so far.

Published in Positive news
Friday, 04 February 2011 22:12

A Tree a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

We see them all the time - on our walk to school, to work or on a drive through the country. We admire their beauty and are in awe of their size, but we rarely think of them as being crucial to our health. Trees are, as much as food, exercise and sleep, essential for healthy living.

Published in Articles
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 22:07

Oaks: Know Them, Love Them, Plant Them!

During our tree planting event, oak saplings will be planted along with maple, ash, cherry and alder saplings. These young oak trees will eventually be part of a forest that you can help plant. Think you know oaks? Think again! Get to know the oak tree more to find out why oak is a-ok!

Published in Articles
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 21:41

Plant for the Planet in Belgium!

This year is the International Year of Forests. Forests are home to millions of people and they sustain the livelihoods of millions more. They are essential to life on the Planet. Sadly, forest areas continue to decline. You can do your share, though, by helping plant a forest in Belgium - and in Congo.

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 21:02

Tree Planting Event 2011 FAQ

plant a forest with sunbeams

20 March 2011


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 in Belgium. We write articles, make presentations, conduct workshops and organize events. Please visit our website www.sunbeams.eu for more information.

What is VBV?

VBV stands for Vereniging voor Bos in Vlaanderen (forest association of Flanders). VBV works with Belgian authorities, schools, organizations, companies and private persons to plant forests in Belgium. 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.

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 planting seven billion trees by the end of 2009. 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.

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. This website is: www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/index.asp

How do I register my pledges and trees for the Bilion Tree Campaign?

You don’t need to worry about registering your trees. Sunbeams and VBV 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.

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.

A contribution from the five euros will also be given to a Congolese Roots and Shoots youth group, run under the auspices of The Jane Goodall Institute.  This group aims to plant a green corridor connecting two forests in their region.  The corridor will provide food and shelter for animals migrating from one forest to the other.  Local adults will be trained by the Jane Goodall Institute to protect the area.

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

While there will be no profit or fee for Sunbeams, VBV or the UNEP, a contribution of the money collected will be sent to a Roots and Shoots youth group in the Congo, to help them plant trees in their country.  All of the money raised does go towards planting trees – globally!

Can I donate without attending the event on March 20th?

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.

Can we contact Sunbeams for fundraising ideas for our school/organisation?

Yes you can! If you have need for further assistance, please feel free to contact us and we will do what we can to help.

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

The deadline for advance registrations is Friday 18 March 2011. However you can still come along to event and buy a tree on the spot.
We willl be planting extra trees and can still assign one to you even after the event.

If you wish to plant a large number of trees to let us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it as possible, so that we can assign a designated plot.

Can I just come on the day?

Yes you can just turn up and pay cash as we will have plenty of spare trees. However we would much prefer if you register first to ensure the smooth operation of the event.

How is the money collected?

We ask that schools or organisations participating in the tree palnting have a designated person or system in place to collect the money for the entire group. Once all pledges have been received, we kindly ask that you send us one amount on behalf of the entire group.

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 your school when you do the transfer.

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.

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.

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

As a prize to the first 10 organisations that commit to participate at the event, we, along with VBV, will come 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. IIf you are among the first to commit, you will be notified as soon as possible and we will give presentations in the week of February 14th – 18th.

Where is the forest going to be planted?

This year’s forest will be planted in Gooik, approximately 30km west of Brussels. Click here to see the exact location of plot.
Parking is limited at the site (Frankrijkstraat 10) so we suggest you park in Kerplein, 1755 Gooik, which is a 5 minute walk from the site. Signs will show you exactly where to go.

Is transportation to and from the event provided?

We are working on the logistics of transportation. As we get closer to the event, we will be able to provide you with more information.

How was this location chosen?

This location was arranged through our partner VBV.

How will the forest be utilized?

There is a hiking trail that runs directly next to the pllt of land that will be planted, so you will be able to check on your trees whenever you would like.

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 are recommended.

Will food be provided?

Food will not be provided at the event. We are currently in the process of meeting with different vendors to see if they would be interested in selling different food items, but for now, we recommend that you bring your own picnic to enjoy under your tree.

How will we know where to plant our trees?

The plot of land will be divided into sections and identified by school &/or organization. We will have volunteers present to direct you.

Will the particpants be safe?

Whilst we will do everything to ensute that everyody is safe at all times, as a small organization we do not have the volunteer capacity to look after every section, therefore we ask that the groups provide supervision over their own designated space.

How do I receive more information about the event?

Please feel free to contact Leanne at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any specific questions you may have. Please also check this website for regular updates.


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Published in Articles
Thursday, 11 November 2010 22:16

Trees and Why We Should be Thankful for Them

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Those who observe it remember all the things they are thankful for: families, friends and blessings such as a house or that dream job. This year, let us add to our list something which has always been there for us but we don't seem to appreciate enough: trees. We know that some trees are a source of food. Others provide lumber and raw materials for making paper and other products. The latter are values trees give us when cut. However, we seem to take for granted that they offer us a number of benefits when they are alive and strong. Besides being grateful for the products we get from them, why else should we be thankful for trees?

Published in Articles
Saturday, 22 January 2011 21:12

Tree Planting Event 2011

are you joining us
at the tree planting event?

here's an information pack with
all you need to know for the day

help promote the event - please email this page to anyone you think might be interested. Or download and print the poster above to display at your work/school/group.
reduce your carbon footprint

In reposnse to the great demand we have extended the deadline for registering to plant or pledge trees. However we would ask you not to make any more bank transfers at this stage. Please use the paypal option or you can also pay directly at the event.

In March 2010 expats and Belgians came together to plant a forest in one day with sunbeams. Over 2,000 trees were planted and are now bursting back into life with the return of spring. Your can see coverage of last year's event here. This year we have a bigger plot of land and hope to plant many more trees - for which we need your help.


Sunbeams invites you to come and help us make Belgium a little bit greener on March 20th, 2011. 

For just €5 you can have a healthy sapling (~125cm tall) to plant in your name, or dedicated to someone else  - register now to reserve your tree(s).

We would love you to come along and plant the trees yourself, but if you can't make it we will have plenty of willing hands to plant them on your behalf.

The sunbeams forest is part of the United Nations Environment  Programme's Billion Tree Campaign.


Sunday 20th March 2011. 10.00 - 16.00


as well as children and adults from national and international organisations, groups and schools, the Slovenian and UK Ambassadors and the EU Commissioner for the Environment will participate in the tree planting event.


tpe11_loc_tn This time the forest will be planted at Oetingen (Gooik), 20km west of Brussels, and we hope to plant over 5,000 trees.

Click here to see the exact location of plot. 

Parking is limited so we suggest you park in Kerplein, 1755 Gooik, which is a 5 minute walk from the site. Signs will show you exactly where to go.


more info?

For further information see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and read our 2010 Tree Planting Event newsletter.


unep_logo BTC_logo_smaller
The sunbeams forest is part of the United Nations Environment  Programme's Billion Tree Campaign.


this empty field needs your help....

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 01 September 2010 13:51

Tree Planting Event 2010 - Dedications

a selection of the dedications attached to the trees of our new forest:

  • This tree is just for my family

  • To my mum who provided the cakes and to my dad who did nothing at all – Sophia
    For the environment

  • I hope that pollution will stop and oceans will be protected – David

  • For Terry, may it grow kind

  • For when we grow up we have a better environment – Almond

  • From my family in Belgium to my family in Scotland and to my friends in Belgium with love

  • Because I love nature – Phoebe

  • Omdat ik het van mijn mama moet doen en ik klim graag in bomen (because my mother said I had to do it and I like to climb trees)

  • Omdat ik wil helpen om de balans tussen natuur en mensen te herstellen. Daarnaast zijn bomen gewoon mooi! (Because I want to restore the balance between nature and humans. And just because trees are beautiful)

  • Omdat ik de opwarming van de aarde wil helpen en ook voor de vogels – Alexandra (because I want to help with global warming and also for the birds)

  • Voor Knut – Ena, 6 (Knut, the baby ice bear born in the zoo in Germany)

  • Voor moeder-aarde  - Emil, 10

  • Voor mijn over-grootmoeder, Mary Wartel (11/01/1915-02/03/2010) – Emil, 10

  • Voor Mama, oma, Moeke en Ena (four female generations)– Ena, 6

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 01 September 2010 13:48

Tree Planting Event 2010 - Thank Yous

A special thank you to:

  • All people tall and small who donated trees and planted them together with us;
  • All the fundraisers and contact persons at the international schools and organisations for having done a tremendous job helping us with this event: Alison April, Caroline Gill, Donna McVicker, Felicity Dent, Ingrid De Decker, Joy Gillman, Kathleen Anderson, Kirstie Egner, Martina Bauer, Martine Foerter, Olga Danilova, Lisa Thauvette, Lisa Treadwell, Marcel van Ratingen, Michelle Brown, Paul Christmas, Sabah Siddiqi , Sarah Kapoor, Sarah Koghali, Tasha Byrne  and many others!
  • Everyone who sponsored the children from the Marollen, inner-city of Brussels, to come and participate at the event under the wings of Serve The City - Brussels;
  • Bert, Liselot and Lore of the Flemish forest association who gave us all their expertise, technical support and patiently answered all our questions and demands;
  • The director of UNEP Brussels, Olivier Deleuze, who supported Sunbeams and this common cause and was also present at the event to plant his own trees;
  • The land owner, Luc Vandermarliere, for realizing his childhood dream of converting his land into a forest forever;
  • The mayors of Linter and Tienen for their support of our event;
  • The Eastok choir for letting their magical voices be carried away in the wind, blessing all the new little trees and warming us in the cold;
  • Simon Dibb and Jean-Luc Onckelinx for putting their professional shoulders under the press coverage of our event;
  • The following Belgian nature organisations being present with their booths and willing to explain everything in English: Natuurpunt
    Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen
    Imkerverbond Vlaams Brabant
    Bosgroep Dijleland-Gete
  • Our partners and lovely dynamic people of Reason2.be, Ben and Valerie, for selling their yummy Belgian organic apples and pears at the event;
  • The Embassies of Indonesia and Slovenia, as well as MO Group International for planting trees at our event;
  • The International Montessori School for sponsoring our event by offering their driver and shuttle bus to drive people back and forth from the train station of Tienen;
  • The sponsors providing free apple juice Tetra packs for all the children;
  • The neighbours for being so patient with all the cars and people invading their streets;
  • All the members of the Sunbeams team for their creative minds, their dedicated time, warm welcoming of people and their sponsoring and planting of trees: Alan, Alexander, Bogdan, Courtenay, Eli, Ellen B., Ellen H., Eva, Geoffrey, Henrik, Katrina, Kirstie, Laura, Lisa, Martina, Martine, Merritt, Morgan, Nickie, Nicole, Olga, Ronna, Sarah, Tamas, and ... especially Vanessa for all her hard work liaising warmly and professionally with all the international schools.

Thank YOU so much!

Ilke Pedersen-Beyst

Founder and President of Sunbeams

Published in Articles
Thursday, 02 September 2010 13:44

Tree Planting Event 2010

plant or pledge trees for this year's event
20 March 2011

14 March 2010: we did it! our tree planting event (TPE) was a runaway success which exceeded everybody's expectations. Over 2,200 trees were planted.

A huge thank you to everybody who took part, contributed and made a forest appear in 1 day.

German TV channel ZDF came to record the event and you can watch their report online. (skip to 8 minutes 43 seconds for the sunbeams TPE report)

October 2010: Here are some photos of  the trees as they look now

Thank you people!!!!!!

On behalf of the entire team, I would like to thank every child and adult who purchased trees and helped to plant for the planet with Sunbeams on 14 March in Neerlinter, east of Tienen (Belgium). Here you can read our special thank you list to all who made this possible.

You cannot imagine how heartwarming it was seeing all of you challenging the cold weather and turning the meadow into a forest in one day. Families and individuals, 12 international schools, 15 organizations, embassies and companies, people of all nationalities, Belgians and expats, planting side by side.

At the end of the day, all 2,280 personal messages waved us goodbye and we trust all of the wishes and dedications are heard and will reach their destinations.

You will find a selection of personal messages from children here. In our next e-newsletter, reports, interviews and stories will be told. You can follow us and give us feedback on our Facebook wall. And here you can find lovely photos of children, local mayors, the UNEP director of Brussels and school representatives planting trees. Please do not hesitate to share your own stories, messages, and pictures with us!

Our aim with Sunbeams is to show that every single individual, regardless of age, can make a real difference. Whether it is planting a tree or taking small steps in daily life, we can all make this planet a better place.

We invite you all to join us again next year when we will plant our next Sunbeams forest.  The event will occur again around the same date, but in a different place somewhere in Belgium.

We hope to see all of you again!

founder and president of Sunbeams

Published in Articles
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