But, we love Greynolds Park all the time, and the park staff, the nicest and most dedicated nature- and people-loving folks you will ever find -- told us that budget cuts were threatening the park, and resulting in cuts in their "benefits", like health insurance.
So, we presented the problem to Hannah, and her 11-year old brain spun around for a few moments and she blurted out: "Let's bake cookies and sell them to neighbors and collect money for the park." And, with Lauren's guidance, "Budget-Cut Cookies" was established in the kitchen. Hannah not only helped with the cookies, but also with preparation of the accompanying materials to explain why she was going door-to-door collecting $$$ for Greynolds Park. Most of the cookies were chocolate chip, but Paulo had some Finca Rio Perla macadamia nuts stashed in his freezer in Washngton DC. And, thus, some of the batches were macadamia-chocolate chip cookies. Yum-Yum.
Well, Finca Rio Perla decided to match every dollar that Hannah collected from her door-to-door sales, which she did rain-or-shine. Hannah is a tenacious saleswomen, so it was hard to keep up in the kitchen. In all, Hannah collected $104 and Finca Rio Perla added $112 so that Hannah could take a check for $216 (that's 12 times 18, where "Chai" is the number 18 and a traditional Jewish good luck number.
Hannah and Lauren were thinking of an appropriate day to bring the $216 check to Greynolds Park, and it was decided that it should be done in honor of the Jewish holiday, Tu Bishvat, on Feb 7 2012. The Jewish holiday called Tu Bishvat, is called the "New Year for Trees". see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_Shvat
Tu Bishvat (Hebrew: ט״ו בשבט) is a Jewish holiday, occurring on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat (in 2012 this occurred from sunset on February 7 through the time when you can see three stars in the sky on February 8). It is also called "Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot" (Hebrew: ראש השנה לאילנות), which means the "New Year of the Trees". Tu Bishvat is one of four "New Years" mentioned in the Mishnah. Just think, in Jewish tradition there is a special holiday to celebrate trees. "Etz Chaim", which means - the tree of life - is actually a very powerfiul Jewish symbol. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etz_Chaim In fact, it is the Torah, G-d's gift to humanity that is revered and praised symbolically as "Etz Chaim", the "tree of life". Alternatively, humanity's gretest gift from G-d is the eternal "tree of life", deeply rooted in the soil.
To further honor Tu Bishvat and to link Greynolds Park with Israel and Finca Rio Perla, we donated money to buy some trees in Israel to be planted by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), including the Childrens' Forest. http://www.jnf.org/
For Paul and Lauren it was a "deja vu" to make a contribution to JNF for planting trees in Israel, BUT-BUT instead of collecting spare change in bulky blue "pushkes" that would weigh so-so much, now it is all done over the internet with electronic transfers. Oh well, I guess that that is called "progress" .... at least it is a smaller carbon footprint. hahahaha
Anyway, the bottom line is that we love trees and parks and respect and honor all the persons who have dedicated their lives to working in parks -- usually with very very demanding work loads, and insufficient financial compensation. These dedicated people are too often exploited because of their dedication and love of nature and people, and people and nature. So, "Trees of the World Unite" ... power to the people who love trees ... being a "tree hugger" is a label to wear with pride.
So, in May 2012, make sure you celebrate May Day, of course, but also check your calenders for "Love Fest 2012" at Greynolds Park if you are in the Miami area. Otherwise, we hope that you can visit us at Finca Rio Perla in Costa Rica, or a JNF park in Israel, or anywhere else in the world celebrating nature. Pura Vida - To Life - L'chaim, Dr. Paulo