NEWS: Sempervirens Fund Attempts to Establish GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® Title on Earth Day with #HugATreeChallenge
Record will be established if more than 500 people upload a photo of one person hugging a tree to Instagram with the hashtag #HugATreeChallenge between noon and 1pm PT on April 22
San Mateo, Calif. (April 12, 2022) —Sempervirens Fund, California’s first land trust, will attempt to establish a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most photos of people hugging trees uploaded to Instagram in one hour on Earth Day, April 22. The #HugATreeChallenge, presented by REI Co-op, is designed to celebrate Earth Day while raising awareness that we are in a precarious moment for redwoods in the region, and forests worldwide, as the impacts of climate change accelerate and large wildfires become more common.
To establish the new record, at least 500 people worldwide need to upload a photo of one person hugging a tree to their public Instagram account on April 22 between noon and 1pm Pacific Daylight Time, and tag the photo with the hashtag #HugATreeChallenge. REI will donate $1 for every record setting entry, up to $10,000, for reforestation of redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains. The challenge is also sponsored by AllTrails.
“As the oldest land trust in California, Sempervirens Fund is happy to celebrate redwoods and trees everywhere this Earth Day with the #HugATreeChallenge,” said Sempervirens Fund Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Matthew Shaffer. “This is a bittersweet moment as Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which was severely damaged during the biggest fire in Santa Cruz mountains history, plans to reopen but another potentially devastating wildfire season looms. We have seen an outpouring of support from around the globe in response to the wildfires in the area and this public challenge is a way for us to raise awareness and share in celebrating Earth Day while also ensuring the future of these trees.”
Like forests around the world, redwoods are being deeply impacted by climate change and extreme weather events like wildfires, drought, and flooding. But because they sequester more carbon by volume than any other tree species on the planet, protecting coast redwoods is also critical to reducing the harms caused by climate change and extreme weather.
“We’re honored to partner with Sempervirens Fund on the #HugATreeChallenge because we know our ability to enjoy outdoor recreation depends on healthy and vibrant forests, public lands, and waterways,” said REI’s Brand Engagement & Impact Manager, Haley Caruso. “From achieving our 14-year carbon neutrality agreement in 2020 to implementing a plan that will halve our carbon footprint by 2030, we are committed to fighting the climate crisis and preserving the outdoors for generations to come. We share many of the same goals as the Sempervirens Fund and are proud to support its work.”
With the Santa Cruz mountains experiencing the largest wildfire in its history in 2020, and weather experts predicting a bad wildfire season this year, this is a crucial moment to raise awareness about the need to protect redwoods and promote forest health and resiliency. California’s coast redwoods have survived for more than 250 million years but rapid and extreme changes to climate and weather, as well as the growing intensity of wildfires, make it less likely that they will be able to continue to adapt and thrive without a strong effort to reverse the effects of climate change.
A recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reiterates that reducing deforestation and improving management of protected lands are among the most powerful tools available to mitigate harms caused by the climate crisis.
“AllTrails is a San Francisco-based company, and Sempervirens Fund is right in our own backyard; we’ve seen the devastation wildfires have wrought on the redwood forests in the area, and working to protect them is a cause that is especially close to our hearts,” said AllTrails CEO, Ron Schneidermann. “Life is made better by spending time in nature and we’re honored to partner with the Sempervirens Fund to sponsor the #HugATreeChallenge. We believe in conserving nature’s most beautiful places to ensure more people have access to enjoy them.”
Official rules and instructions for the record-setting attempt can be found here.
Sempervirens Fund and tree lovers around the world are holding the #HugATreeChallenge, presented by REI Co-op, on Earth Day, April 22, 2022, to help establish a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most photos of people hugging trees uploaded to Instagram in one hour. The challenge is also sponsored by AllTrails. For every record-setting entry, REI will donate $1, up to $10,000, for reforestation of redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains.
When: Earth Day — April 22, 2022; 12pm-1pm Pacific Daylight Time
Where: Post a tree-hugging photo on your public Instagram account with the hashtag #HugATreeChallenge
Why: Help Sempervirens Fund establish a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title and show your love for trees and the environment on Earth Day
The Rules: The official rules and instructions for the record-setting attempt can be found here.