Rugged peaks and glacier-carved canyons of the Bitterroot National Forest provide a magnificent landscape for hikers and a home for big horn sheep and mountain lions. But in 2011, the Up Top Fire burned 13,000 acres of the pristine forest in Montana, leaving a burn scar ripe for replanting with native trees.

In 2013, LightStream an online lending company, debuted and decided to support fire-damaged wilderness areas by planting a tree for every loan it funded. One of the first landscapes it supported was American Forests’ Bitterroot restoration efforts.

Those baby lodgepole pines and spruce in the mountains of Montana were the seed of a long-term partnership that has now helped plant 1 million trees and restore forests in 23 states. From reforesting after wildfires in Oregon and Colorado and restoring degraded watersheds in California, to supporting urban tree planting efforts in Miami and Houston, LightStream’s projects have brought life to essential ecosystems that provide myriad benefits to the environment and people.

By reforesting land in ways that help fight climate change and nurture human health, LightStream is addressing its mission to improve people’s lives and make the world better.

LightStream for years has helped restore the Upper Great Lakes habitats of the Kirtland’s warbler, helping it become the only songbird to be removed from the endangered species list.
Photo Credit: Dominic Sherony

“We are extremely grateful for LightStream’s steadfast support of vital reforestation work with American Forests,” says Jad Daley, president and chief executive officer of American Forests. “We are equally grateful that LightStream has taken its impact to another level by working to inspire others to join this reforestation movement. Through innovative communications about the power of trees, LightStream has helped the public understand that if we take care of our forests, they’ll take care of us.”

LightStream’s support for forests and environmental health extends far beyond planting trees. The company has also led campaigns with American Forests to build awareness and educate people about the value of trees, both in our large landscapes and in the cities where we live.

In 2017, for example, LightStream created a pop-up “Forest of Dreams” in Times Square, New York City celebrating their first 1,000 acres planted with American Forests and building momentum for the company’s commitment to plant an additional 500 acres that year. The day-long exhibit, which featured native trees, forest facts, wildlife educators and rescued animals, drove donations that added an additional 50 acres of American Forests wilderness plantings.

Last year, LightStream worked with American Forests to create a new educational campaign, “Right Tree Right Place,” which sheds light on the many benefits of forests and encourages people to plant their own trees in the right way. Through video and social media graphics, the campaign informs audiences about the ways trees combat climate change, cool cities and improve our mental and physical health. The Right Tree Right Place graphics help amplify one of American Forests’ most crucial initiatives: Tree Equity — making sure that people in all neighborhoods reap the benefits trees provide.

“Our American Forests partnership is a reflection of LightStream’s culture and purpose,” said LightStream Senior Vice President Kristin Shuff. “We believe in helping people achieve their goals, grow their dreams and create better lives for themselves and their communities. Supporting the environmental and educational efforts of American Forests fits closely with the values we support for our company, our teammates and our customers.”