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Skylar’s World Forest

By Ann Connors, Development Director

Skylar (in pink pants) and her family gather at the dedication ceremony for the future 20-acre Skylar’s World Forest to be planted along Beanblossom Creek.

Last December, on a cool and sunny afternoon along Beanblossom Creek in northern Monroe County, an extended family came together at a former farm field to celebrate the future Skylar’s World Forest.

Skylar is a beautiful 10-year-old girl who has been battling cancer for years. She has inspired her family and everyone she meets (including Sycamore staff) with her positivity, strength, and joyful presence. Skylar’s Uncle Caleb hoped to find a way to honor Skylar’s fortitude by planting a forest, as Skylar loves nature, animals, and all things outdoors.

Fortunately, Caleb works for Salesforce in Indianapolis, which is leading a global collaborative effort to plant and protect 1 trillion trees by 2030 to fight climate change. Salesforce contacted their partner American Forests, who asked Sycamore if we could help.

Thanks to the online fundraising efforts of Caleb’s TryForSky project, over $40,000 was raised to enable Sycamore to plant over twenty acres of trees along Beanblossom Creek next spring. This planting will be within an over 600-acre tract that includes our Sam Shine Foundation Preserve and Dan Efroymson Preserve.

Recently, Caleb gave Sycamore wonderful news: “First, Skylar is doing great! She’s 4 months into her treatment plan and is getting stronger every day. TryForSky was founded on 3 guiding principles: Family, Forests and Faith. There’s an undeniable connection between the planet and a person, a beautiful one. On the other hand, both our people and our planet are in daily battles that may seem impossible to overcome. Our mission is to connect difficult, life-changing experiences to positive environmental impact. The global warming crisis is real and it’s time for organizations, corporations and every human being to take action. We believe Forests are the best nature-based solution to combat climate change and are 100% committed to innovating within this space for life.”

Eric Sprague, Vice President of Forest Restoration at American Forests tells us: “Thanks to Sycamore Land Trust, we will be able to create a forest for people to enjoy for generations. Skylar’s World Forest will also be transformational in many other ways, by providing habitat for wildlife, cleaning the air around us and helping in our mission to curb climate change.”

Inspired by Skylar’s story, Sycamore partners Studio Loupe, Everywhere Signs, and Harmony Gardens donated their services to provide the wonderful sign and the beautiful swamp white oak that marks the site of the future forest. Even nature took part in the dedication ceremony – as Caleb started to speak, huge flocks of Sandhill cranes flew overhead and circled above us, calling out before continuing on their journey.

This article was published in the Summer 2021 edition of The Twig “The Wetlands Issue.”  Read more here.