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GOLDEN, Colo. -- Coleman Natural Foods based here is planting nearly 300,000 trees in eight states as a result of its 2005 efforts on behalf of its Eco-Project 2015, a decade-long conservation program launched on Arbor Day 2005.
The program has been well received by both retailers and consumers so far. "Five national and regional retailers gave their support to the program in its first year," said company chairman Mel Coleman, Jr. "We believe our success in 2005 bodes well for the next nine years, and we appreciate the support from our retail partners who accepted the challenge to help us preserve and protect our environment."
Natural product retailers Wild Oats Markets, Whole Foods' Mid-Atlantic region, Wild by Nature of New York, Huckleberry's Natural Market of Washington, and Dorothy Lane Markets of Ohio supported the program. The retailers either provided the Coleman Eco-Project 2015 tearpad in stores for consumer purchase or made a financial contribution to the program.
The goal of the Coleman Eco-Project 2015 is to plant a total of 20 million trees throughout the United States in 10 years, said Mel Coleman, noting that the U.S. Forest Service will match the donations tree for tree and will also plant the trees. In addition to tree planting, education and training programs will be undertaken under the auspices of the Coleman Eco-Project 2015 to protect 50 million acres of working farms and ranches.
"With environmental consciousness tied to our roots, Wild Oats was proud to participate in the Coleman Eco-Project to help improve and preserve the environment, and strengthen American agriculture," said Sonja Tuitele, Wild Oats' senior director of corporate communications. "We look forward to being a strong participant in this progressive program in the years to come."
Mel Coleman said consumers are inclined to support environmental programs when opportunities are presented to them at retail venues. "We've certainly seen unprecedented consumer support at retail channels with last year's Hurricane Katrina natural disasters that devastated an estimated 80 percent of the Gulf Coast's forests," he said.
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires, insect infestations and plant diseases, "can devastate our public and private forests," continued Mel Coleman, adding that the Eco-Project is an important effort to restore forests. "Through our alliances and collaboration with current and future retail partners and their customers, we can help offset tree loss and reduce air pollution for the next generation."