Here at Rainforest Trust we are preparing to celebrate Earth Day, and as a lead-up we would like to highlight a supporter who, inspired by this day, has been involved in protecting the rainforest in many ways. Cindy Starr can trace her love for the environment all the way back to the very first Earth Day at the University of Michigan in 1970. It was there that she heard a speech by a leader in the field of ecology that moved her to one day take action.
Fast forward to 2009, and still inspired by her first Earth Day all those years ago, Cindy set out to find an environmental nonprofit to support.
“I was first introduced to Rainforest Trust by a friend, but back then it was relatively small and called World Land Trust US,” she said. “Though small, I continued my support as I felt [the organization] had an immediate impact on climate, species diversity, preservation of land for indigenous peoples and the employment of local residents as patrols… It was essentially a home run nonprofit that covered all the bases.”
Since then Cindy has focused her philanthropy through the lens of “think globally, act locally” but tweaked it to fit her own personal style, as she both supports organizations in her hometown of Cincinnati as well as globally focused nonprofits like Rainforest Trust.
Through Rainforest Trust, Cindy has been able to reach her goal by acting locally through groups like her employer sanctioned “Green Team” and her own personal philanthropy to address the global issues of habitat loss and climate change.
“We started recycling and energy conservation projects at our various office locations, and we began our Earth Week collection of dollars and loose change in our lunch rooms in 2009,” she said. “I recommended Rainforest Trust to the Green Team because I knew that our gift, which would be relatively small, would purchase at least a few acres… Rainforest Trust offered [us] the most bang for the buck.”
Cindy is committed to saving rainforest and protecting the planet, and she finds different ways to work this commitment into her life and the lives of those around her. Besides making regular contributions and encouraging others at her office to do the same, Cindy has included Rainforest Trust in her will. And in 2016, when her daughter was married, she shared her passion with guests.
“The wedding was very eco-minded… It was held in a botanical garden, and the food was vegetarian,” Cindy said. “Because guests depart wedding receptions with their own gift nowadays, my daughter and I wanted the gift to be something that wouldn’t end up in a wastebasket, so we purchased ten acres of Red Panda Forest Reserve habitat in Nepal for every guest.”
All told, through her various channels of giving, Cindy has protected over 1,500 acres of rainforest that not only save species but also support local communities and protect our one and only planet. So this Earth Day, take a page out of the Cindy Starr playbook and get involved so that we can ensure that in another 30 years there will be an Earth left to celebrate!