The Baha’i community of Chile recently donated 2,000 trees to the city of Santiago.
This gift came from the Native Flora Project, a tree-planting initiative at the Baha’i House of Worship in Chile. The trees were donated in honor of the upcoming bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, which will be celebrated on 21 and 22 October.
The Mayor of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Claudio Orrego, visited the House of Worship to accept the donation on behalf of the city and to learn about the tree-planting project.
Since the beginning of construction on the House of Worship, hundreds of volunteers have been gathering at the Temple site every weekend to plant trees, and more than 9,000 trees and hundreds of other plants now flourish on the land.
The community was inspired to start the project after reflecting on the potential contribution of the House of Worship to the surrounding area:
O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. We cherish the hope that the light of justice may shine upon the world and sanctify it from tyranny. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 164.
Maggy Canales is one of the organizers of the Native Flora Project. She explained that the project is improving the conditions of the forest’s ecosystem, and it has brought the community together to work for the conservation of native plant species.
Members of Santiago’s community from students to environmental NGOs to scout troops have all volunteered their time to the project. Many of the seeds are collected from the trees growing in the foothills of the Andes and planted in a greenhouse on the Temple land. These trees have been planted around the Temple or donated to local schools and communities within and around Santiago.
Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship … So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 288.
Mayor Orrego spoke about the significant impact of the House of Worship on the well-being of Santiago, calling it a “great gift for everyone.” During his visit, Mr. Orrego spoke with volunteers at the greenhouse and expressed his appreciation for the many opportunities that the Temple has opened for Santiago.
The trees donated by the Baha’is will be planted in parks, in medians on city roads, and next to streams in areas of the city without much vegetation.
Man is like unto a tree. If he be adorned with fruit, he hath been and will ever be worthy of praise and commendation. Otherwise a fruitless tree is but fit for fire. The fruits of the human tree are exquisite, highly desired and dearly cherished. Among them are upright character, virtuous deeds and a goodly utterance. The springtime for earthly trees occurreth once every year, while the one for human trees appeareth in the Days of God—exalted be His glory. Were the trees of men’s lives to be adorned in this divine Springtime with the fruits that have been mentioned, the effulgence of the light of Justice would, of a certainty, illumine all the dwellers of the earth and everyone would abide in tranquillity and contentment beneath the sheltering shadow of Him Who is the Object of all mankind. The Water for these trees is the living water of the sacred Words uttered by the Beloved of the world. In one instant are such trees planted and in the next their branches shall, through the outpourings of the showers of divine mercy, have reached the skies. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 257.