You love your mother...earth, so don't smother her in gift wrap this holiday season.
Rather than gifting items that are eventually destined to a home in the landfill, give a charitable donation to help preserve the natural beauty, open spaces, parks and pathways that we love.
"A lot of people are trying to simplify their lives and simplify the holidays," says Sarah Quattrochi, outreach and education director for the Tennessee River Gorge Trust. "We all have 'things' and a lot of the things we have are things that are going to break down over time. Helping an organization or someone in need is more fulfilling to them than trying to find the perfect thing to give someone."
Endowment gifts can be given in lieu of a physical gift for birthdays or holidays, as well as in memory of someone. Choose an organization for the gift that means something special to the person you are honoring, such as a gift to the Chattanooga Chapter of the Southeast Off-Road Bicycle Organization (SORBA) on behalf of a friend who loves trail riding or a gift to the Trust for Public Land for those who are concerned about land conservation.
• Tennessee River Gorge Trust: trgt.org
• Trust for Public Land: tpl.org
• Friends of the Cumberland Trail: friendsofthecumberlandtrail.org
• The Chattanooga Chapter of SORBA: sorbachattanooga.org
• Wild Trails: wildtrails.org
"It's a great way to honor someone who has everything and you don't know what to get them, as well as making a great impact on the community," says Rick Wood, executive director of the Chattanooga office of the Trust for Public Land, which helps design and develop parks and playgrounds, promote conservation-favorable government policies and conducts research into the community benefits of parks and conservation.
This type of gift is perfect for anyone from the most dedicated outdoorsman to the person who occasionally likes to stop and enjoy beautiful scenery. Most all of us can appreciate nature in some way, and giving a gift like this helps to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy it for years to come.