Fundraiser #1

​Finca La Anita – 
Dota Mountain Coffee

This coffee is grown at 1,400 to 2,000 meters on the slopes of the volcano chain extending south from Finca La Anita. We think this is the highest grown coffee in the world. When the coffee is sold it accomplishes two goals:
  • This coffee is the livelihood of a co-op of 700 poor families who scraped together enough money to take their coffee to the 2001 Specialty Coffee Association trade show in San Francisco where it was judged ​“Best-In-The-World!”
  • The coffee serves to raise funds for the students taking this science trip to the Rincon Rainforest in Costa Rica.
This coffee is packed in 10 oz. bags and is available in classic roast ground, dark roast ground, classic roast whole bean, or dark roast whole bean. The coffee sells for $10 per bag of which the student receives half towards the trip. This fundraiser is effective because it is at the complete top end of the coffee quality scale and this means that once a student sells the coffee to a neighbor of friend, it is typical that the person comes back and asks for more coffee. Secondly, the coffee is packaged such that it can make idea gifts during the holiday season, which means that students sales of this coffee during the holidays can be very significant towards underwriting trip costs.​
A Minnesota 501c3 non-profit corporation with a mission of enhancing bioscience education for high school students and creating more science-related careers.
Exposing High School science students to tropical rainforest research in partnership with:
  • The Currie Lab - University of Wisconsin
  • Biochemistry Dept.: School of Medicine at University of Costa Rica
  • Your Community Rotary
Copyright © 2018 Seeds of Change, Inc. 
Fundraiser #2

Emerald Ash Borer

​Co-operative effort with Rainbow Tree Care 

The Elm tree was an important tree lining the streets of Minnesota towns and providing shade for thousand of Minnesota homes not to mention the value the elm tree gave to the natural environment. Then 20 or 30 years ago, the state was invaded by a Dutch Elm disease which decimated the elm trees in Minnesota and cost cities and families probably millions of dollars to remove trees from the landscape leaving an ugly bare hole where there had previously been lush green foliage. Many of these Elm trees were replanted with Ash trees over years to replace the majestic elms. The ash trees planted in Minnesota were Green Ash, White Ash and Black Ash and now just in the Metropolitan area it is estimated that we have 3 million ash trees.

The Ash trees in the United States are a genus called Fraxinus. Several years ago, an insect from Asia hitched a ride on a cargo ship and landed here in the United States. The insect, called the Emerald Ash Borer(EAB), started attacking and devastating Ash trees in the United States. Asian ash trees, over many thousands or millions of years, have evolved a resistance to the Ash Borer, but when the insect landed here in the U.S. our trees, that were never exposed to this insect, fell victim. Now we are on the same track with Ash trees as we were with Elm trees decades ago.

This evolutionary phenomenon is similar to the lessons we are teaching our Costa Rica science students, as to how the microorganisms in the leaf cutter ant fungus garden have evolved to reach a balance so that pathogens do not overwhelm the fungus colonies that the ants depend on. With the leaf cutter ants we will study in detail the various microbial interactions.

Over evolutionary time, the Ash trees in North America will be under the same intense selection pressure from the Emerald Ash Beatle. We now have the infestation of these beetles here in Minnesota, and unfortunately, we do not have 1,000 years to wait for nature to evolve protection. Removing an old tree can easily cost $1,500 to $3,000. Replanting another variety can be another $700 to $1,000. In addition, the loss of a large Ash tree can reduce home value. The option of protecting a homeowners trees is many times less the cost of removing a tree and/or replacing a tree, plus it preserves the natural landscape for the homeowner and for our community. In addition, the timeline in which these ash trees need a protective application fits well with the timeframe in which our students need to raise funds for their Costa Rica science trip.

Since it is estimated that there are 3 million ash trees in the metropolitan area, we think that there could easily be 100,000 trees in a typical school district, a potential market to homeowners who want to save their ash trees. This could easily become a primary technique for students to generate funds to pay for their science education trip to Costa Rica. Not only for current year students, but for students in succeeding years. 

How This Will Work?

The students will attend a three-hour training session at Rainbow Tree Care, Inc. (TRI) in Minnetonka. During this class, the students will be trained on the science of inoculating the tree, to identify ash trees, to apply the preventive solution, and to explain the problem and solution to potential customers.

Seeds of Change has an agreement in place with RTI, in which RTI has agreed to finance the inventory of product for the students to sell. The product will come in standard size containers to treat a 20 inch diameter tree. This product sells for $50 in retail stores, so the students will sell the product for $50 and all of the profit margin associated with the sale will go to the student ($25 per bottle). It is probably the case that many home owners will have several ash trees they wish to protect. The student will be able to explain to the homeowner how to apply the product, in addition providing a complete science-based explanation as to how this preventive works. If the homeowner wishes to have the product applied for him the student will have a form that the customer can fill out and sign and RTI will provide the application for their normal commercial fee for the service and the student will receive a 20% commission for their trip. We anticipate that most homeowners will wish to apply the product themselves, as it is a rather easy task and the students will be able to show the homeowners how to make the application.

Each sale that the student makes they will fill out a card that gives the customer's name, address, telephone number, and the number and size of ash trees. This card will be turned in to RTI and RTI will keep a data base for students to use the following year, so that the customers have an annual window to be reminded to apply the prevention, and so that the high school has a locked-in base upon which to fund the science trip each year.

The program will be managed by Seeds of Change. This program will create students who not only thoroughly learn the science of evolutionary biology associated with tree disease, but also learn how to interact in teams to promote commercial activity. All while doing something to preserve the landscape of their community.

A Minnesota 501c3 non-profit corporation with a mission of enhancing bioscience education for high school students and creating more science-related careers.
Contact us via email.