Day 1: August 5, 2018
Lenzburg train station, 8.31 clock.The train to Zurich airport departs, the adventure begins. The three boys, Nicholas, Robin and Jeffrey, set off for Canada, where they will visit the founder of their tree planting partner, Matt Hill, and work with One Tree Planted to plant their own hands and plant trees. Florian, the passionate photographer and videographer, will document the whole trip of NIKIN.
Zurich Airport, 12:50.With good luck and thanks to the extremely nice crew, the four guys manage despite an actually overbooked plane and only a standby ticket in the machine and take off on time to overseas. About eight hours later, they land well on the other side of the pond, in the Canadian city of Montreal.
Downtown Montreal, 5pm.After moving into the very central Airbnbs, the four set off to get a first taste of the French metropolis in the province of Quebec. They also use the time to prepare for the upcoming meeting with One Tree Planted and to put together the interview topics for the next morning.
Our apartment, 11pm.After an intense discovery tour and a cozy dinner in a local brasserie, the boys find themselves in their apartment, where they set up for their first night in the "Great White North" and soon fall asleep with great anticipation of the coming days.
Day 2: August 6, 2018
Our apartment, 7.07 clock. Daywatch, despite jet lag and the loud buzzing fan, the boys are getting quite fit and fit for the upcoming meeting with Matt at the One Tree Planted office, which is not far from the apartment. A typical North American breakfast with bagels, donuts and coffee provides the last refreshment before the boys are welcomed by Stephanie and Beth, two very sympathetic One Tree Planted employees, in the office.
Head Office of One Tree Planted, 10 o'clock. Shortly thereafter, we make personal acquaintance for the first time with the founder of One Tree Planted, with whom we are constantly in contact, but have never seen. With brown tanned complexion, in flip-flops and with a three-day beard, the burly and half-Jamaican man greets us and leads us through her office space. One Tree Planted is housed in a huge office that houses many other young start-up companies that share the same space. The coffee we drink is free in the shared cafeteria, where you meet and discuss with people from other companies.
Meeting room, 10:15. We sat at the big table in one of the several shared meeting rooms. Florian has installed his camera equipment and equipped Matt with a corresponding microphone. The conversation with Matt, led by Nicholas and Robin, begins. Free from the liver, Matt tells about various topics, such as his personal motivation to plant trees, their financing, the last tree planting campaigns and future projects. The atmosphere is very relaxed and we also hear a lot from the conversation with Beth and Stephanie, the ecosystem and project managers of One Tree Planted.
Downtown Montreal, 5pm. After a second interview with Matt in the afternoon, the successful meeting with One Tree Planted soon comes to an end. Matt recommends us then a few places in the city to end the day comfortably. In a Mexican restaurant we do this and then return soon to recharge our batteries for the adventurous next day.
Day 3: 7th August 2018
Trottoir in front of our Airbnb, 8.31 clock. It drizzles easily, a real cooling after the extremely humid previous day. A white SUV with the inscription "Center de la Nature - Mont Saint-Hilaire" drives up and a young woman with curly blond hair and a green shirt posing as Genevieve gets out. Although she has lived in Montreal all her life, she has never driven her car through the hectic downtown during the rush hour. We drive off, the biologist, who's studying, tells us a lot about herself, we tell her about our project and she explains what's on the program today.
McGill Institute at the foot of Mont Saint-Hilaire, 9:30. After a one-hour drive from the city, we meet at the institute where Genevieve works and get to know her team, concept and projects. Mont Saint-Hilaire is a wooded hill north of Montreal. But locals proudly say that it is a mountain, because there is nothing but miles of flat forest and agricultural land around. On and around the mountain, this organization has been implementing renaturalization projects for several years, breaking down man-made roads, buildings and agriculture and planting trees there, giving back land to nature. Among other things, we see large areas littered with seedlings financed by One Tree Planted, which are carefully looked after until they have grown into an independent tree. A bit further away, we march over thickly wooded paths that looked completely different just a few years ago and that were planted with regional tree species with the help of many volunteers, such as school classes or scouts.
Trottoir in front of our apartment, 5pm. After an eventful day and many great impressions and conversations, Genevieve returns to our home and we thank you for your detailed and sympathetic tour of the projects and locations of Center de la Nature and say goodbye to us in the same place where the second day of NIKIN in Canada has started.
Day 4: 8th August 2018
Mont Royal, 11 o'clock. Thick clouds hang over the sky of Montreal as we reach the observation deck of the local city mountain on our "day off". A fantastic view over the rooftops of Montreal, the harbor and the dense forests around the island on which the city is built provide the perfect setting for shooting great shots for our trip documentary. Later we lose ourselves in the lively streets of Montreal and find ourselves in a café, where we discuss the further program at the next destination of our trip and then let the last evening in Canada end comfortably.
Day 5: August 9, 2018
Montreal Bus Station, 8am. Stowing our luggage, we take a seat on the Greyhound bus, where we head south and reach the city of Burlington in the state of Vermont after about three hours' drive and passing the Canadian-American border. Then we pick up the rental car, which we continue our trip from now on.
Intervale Center, 3pm. After lunch in this typically rural town, east of Burlington, we reach the non-profit organization, which is supported by One Tree Planted, among others. Chelsea and Mike lead us through the original aboriginal land, which was later besieged as a regional landfill and renaturalized some 30 years ago and is now considered one of the most fertile landscapes in the United States. We collect many impressions and visit several greenhouses and plantations, where the young seedlings, which are then transplanted by various other partner organizations throughout the country, are raised. Since 2008, Mike, Intervale Conservation Nursery Manager, and his 25-member team have planted around 700,000 trees. His enthusiasm and his love for nature can not be doubted from the conversation with him.
After this detailed visit, we will walk over to the donated money "SummerVale" on the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Intervale Conservation Nursery, where local families meet for local food and local music and enjoy the summer evening under the dusky canopy outdoors.
Day 6: August 10, 2018
Motel in Burlington, 7:30 am. After a good night's sleep and a typical American breakfast of cornflakes, pancakes and bagels with cream cheese, we set off for the sunrise at Barnet, a small town in eastern Vermont, where we met Ron of Connecticut River Conservancy, another One Tree Planted partner and Intervale, are arranged.
Shore of the Stevens River in Barnet, 10 o'clock. A huge commemorative statue, reminiscent of soldiers killed in the Vietnam War, sits enthroned in the village square of Barnet, where Ron, a former gardener, receives us and explains today's program. He tells us what to consider when planting and what important benefits this brings.
We meet LJ, a resident of Barnet, who voluntarily provides her land, which is directly connected to the city river. At high tide, the river suffers greatly from the strong erosion that causes major damage to the landscape and thus fatal consequences for flora and fauna. By planting the river bank with local trees and shrubs this effect is countered, because the root system of the plants gives the shore better support and in addition habitat for animals is created, which in the long term has positive effects on flora and fauna.
Highway, 1 pm. The final official program of our journey is now behind us and we are on our way to the place where we will finish the adventure One Tree Planted visit to Boston. Rocky mountain peaks, endless densely forested hills, idyllic lakes and rivers. This is enough to describe the wonderful scenery that surrounds us during the journey lasting several hours to the south. The area is not in vain referred to as Green Mountain State. Nothing but pure nature. Beautiful.
We soon cross the border between the states of Vermont and New Hampshire, where we make stops in stunning locations such as the Beaver Pond or Hermit Lake. The images on the Internet do not reflect the beauty of these places.
In a river, which we follow on winding country roads, we take a cooling bath and enjoy the afternoon summer sun. The atmosphere of stopping at a real trucker restaurant could not be more authentic. Our Hyundai looks like a mouse among elephants among the gigantic American trucks. We move on and gradually approach the capital of the state of Massachusetts.
Beacon Hill, Boston, 10pm. Shortly after the sunset, the shimmering lights of the skyscrapers of Boston's skyline appear in the distance, rising into the night sky. We reach our hotel in the very English quarter and let us move into the nightlife of the world-famous student city.
Day 7: August 11, 2018
Downtown Boston, 11am. Rain. Drizzle, drizzle, sometimes in streams, today it rains only once. We settle down in a café and know what we want to do in this weather.
Cinema in America, a real experience! Six hours and three movies later (it's still raining outside), we find ourselves in a sports bar, where we make the last supper of our trip with live baseball on TV, American 80ies hits and billiards students.
Day 8: August 12th
Boston Airport, 12 o'clock. The suitcases are packed, the reading material worried and put the phone in flight mode. The "Grüezi" when entering the aircraft gives us the sense of home, which makes us look forward to coming home.
At home, 11 o'clock. It's just unbelievable what we experienced in this short week. Finally, we got to know our partners personally and formed real friendships. We traveled and discovered great cities, drove through beautiful landscapes and helped to give something back to Mother Nature. On our journey through North America, we also grew closer as a team and refreshed our spirits with many new impressions and encounters with people from all over the world. Looking forward, we look forward to more adventures and a great future with NIKIN.