A Thousand Acres and Counting

DID YOU KNOW that within a single acre of forest, as many as 425 million animals may be working for a living? Granted, those are mostly tiny arthropods, on and under the forest floor, but they are nevertheless essential to the health of the forest that nurtures the birds and mammals that we know and treasure.

Our corporate partner LightStream recently celebrated the restoration of their 1,000th acre of forest, restoring ecosystems that have benefited many, many millions of creatures, great and small, from the ground up.

A national online lender and division of SunTrust Bank, LightStream has always been in tune with the environment, according to Julie Olian, LightStream’s Vice President of Communications.

“We plant a tree for every loan we fund,” says Julie. “Supporting the environment is part of our DNA.”Many of LightStream’s employees lead active outdoor lives and enjoy camping, hiking and other recreational adventures.

Given that, and the company’s strong environmental values, LightStream looked for a partner whose mission, work and reputation were a fit — and found a match with American Forests.

LightStream has partnered with American Forests since 2013. In the last year alone, LightStream’s support has helped American Forests plant significant numbers of trees in longleaf pine projects in Alabama and Virginia. These restored ecosystems can support nearly 600 plant and animal species, half of which are considered rare, more than 100 are at-risk and 30 are threatened or endangered, including the gopher tortoise, who makes generous burrows for its home that are then shared by as many as 360 other species.

Another project supported by LightStream is the habitat of the extremely rare Kirtland’s warbler, which nests in very dense jack pine stands in areas of the Northern Great Lakes. LightStream’s investment there has paid the best kind of dividends. Habitat restoration for this beautiful songbird, while still endangered, has brought the species back from the brink of extinction to now have a viable chance for survival as a critical piece of the fabric of that ecosystem.

“We support American Forests because their efforts are meaningful to the LightStream team, gratifyingly to our customers, and most of all, because it’s the right thing to do,” says Julie.