By Lindsey Putz

Travelers employees dig in at Colt Park in Hartford, Conn.
Travelers employees dig in at Colt Park in Hartford, Conn. Credit: Lindsey Putz.

NEARLY 100 TRAVELERS employees broke out their boots and jeans on a brisk morning in October, all to bring the company one step closer to reaching its ambitious goal of planting 1 million trees across America by Earth Day 2020.

They dug holes, tamped down the soil to get air pockets out, gently placed young trees in the holes, then mulched — many times over. In a few years, the 40 trees they planted in a public park in Hartford, Conn., will be mature enough to help purify the air residents breathe, cool the park on hot days, absorb water to avoid flooding, and so much more. And, as a bonus, some of the trees will produce apples that will be there for the picking.

It’s with leadership from companies like Travelers that America can continue to be home to healthy and resilient forests. The company’s partnership with American Forests began when Travelers executives wanted to offset carbon emissions generated by travel to a conference. In the first three years, the company funded the planting of 30,000 trees. Then, in April 2019, Travelers pledged to fund the planting of a tree for every Travelers customer who chooses paperless billing — up to 1 million trees in all.

“What we are seeing is that our customers are eager for simple steps, like going paperless, that they can take to help save America’s forests,” said Michael Klein, executive vice president and president of personal insurance at Travelers. “Our employees are also excited about this initiative, and the tree planting event in Hartford was an ideal opportunity to make a direct impact in the community where many of us live and work.”

Lindsey Putz writes from Washington, D.C., and is American Forests’ director of corporate giving.