MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft, National Semiconductor, NVIDIA, REI, RHI, SanDisk and Yahoo are joining forces on Saturday to plant more than 400 trees in a single day at Green Oaks and Cesar Chavez Academies on Ralmar Street in East Palo Alto – part of an initiative to plant more than 1,000 trees in the coming months. In partnership with Canopy, a local non-profit group dedicated to planting healthy trees for a healthier community, this program will mobilize several hundred volunteers from these Silicon Valley technology companies. Canopy has already planted thousands of trees in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, however, this is their first East Palo Alto school initiative.
"If Silicon Valley companies would partner more often, our collective impact could truly be transformative," said Sid Espinosa, director of citizenship for Microsoft in the Silicon Valley. "Schools in East Palo Alto are without trees or green space. It's not a good environment for children or learning."
"Trees furnish both direct and indirect benefits to the community's health," said Canopy's executive director Catherine Martineau. "Direct benefits include clean air, clean water, protection from harmful UV rays and the positive psychological effects associated with the proximity of natural environments. Indirect benefits include a more active lifestyle linked to increased outdoor activity. I am inspired to see these Silicon Valley companies step forward, together, to make a difference in the lives of East Palo Alto kids."
According to Canopy, a growing body of local, national and international research suggests that a lack of near proximity to nature may be associated with numerous deleterious conditions, such as asthma, childhood obesity and childhood diabetes. Research also indicates possible association with behavior disorders, depression and a diminished sense of place and community. The tree-planting program is targeted to help relieve and prevent these negative impacts.
The work with Canopy is one of many community-oriented programs Microsoft carries out in East Palo Alto and across the Valley. Microsoft's local employees regularly share their time and other resources with non-profit groups to help improve the educational, environmental and economic aspects of the communities in which they live and work.
"Through our partnership with Canopy, Silicon Valley companies are making a positive difference for teachers and students in our local community, and we're improving the environment while having fun," said Espinosa. "I am proud that every year Microsoft invests millions of dollars in local Bay Area non-profit organizations and that our employees volunteer thousands of hours, but the real reward comes from seeing a school, neighborhood or individual transformed. Our communities have lots of needs – and together we can really have a significant impact. I hope that more companies will join us for the next stage of this project."
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Canopy plants, protects, and grows local urban forests. Because we believe trees are a critical element of a livable, sustainable urban environment, Canopy's mission is to educate, inspire, and engage residents, businesses, and government agencies to protect and enhance our local urban forests. For more information on Canopy, visit: www.canopy.org