Monday, 21 February 2011 13:10

How is the 2010 forest doing?

2010 saw the first ever Sunbeams Tree Planting Event. Here is some up-to-date information on how our forest has fared so far.

Published in Positive news
Thursday, 03 February 2011 11:02

Video: Growing is forever

"I have a deep affection for the Redwood forests of Northern California. This is my best attempt to capture the reverence I feel when in the presence of these giants."

Published in Positive news
Friday, 04 February 2011 22:12

A Tree a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

We see them all the time - on our walk to school, to work or on a drive through the country. We admire their beauty and are in awe of their size, but we rarely think of them as being crucial to our health. Trees are, as much as food, exercise and sleep, essential for healthy living.

Published in Articles
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 22:07

Oaks: Know Them, Love Them, Plant Them!

During our tree planting event, oak saplings will be planted along with maple, ash, cherry and alder saplings. These young oak trees will eventually be part of a forest that you can help plant. Think you know oaks? Think again! Get to know the oak tree more to find out why oak is a-ok!

Published in Articles
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 21:41

Plant for the Planet in Belgium!

This year is the International Year of Forests. Forests are home to millions of people and they sustain the livelihoods of millions more. They are essential to life on the Planet. Sadly, forest areas continue to decline. You can do your share, though, by helping plant a forest in Belgium - and in Congo.

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 21:02

Tree Planting Event 2011 FAQ

plant a forest with sunbeams

20 March 2011


What is Sunbeams?

Sunbeams is a non-profit organization focused on bringing expatriates and Belgians together on nature and the environment. We are an international group of enthusiastic volunteers that provide practical-oriented information on an eco-friendly lifestyle in Belgium. We write articles, make presentations, conduct workshops and organize events. Please visit our website for more information.

What is VBV?

VBV stands for Vereniging voor Bos in Vlaanderen (forest association of Flanders). VBV works with Belgian authorities, schools, organizations, companies and private persons to plant forests in Belgium. They take care of the permission to turn a plot of land into a forest, prepare the ground and work with local forest rangers to select the appropriate species to be planted. They do a lot of activities on trees, publish a magazine and are very active in the UN Billion Tree Campaign.

What is the UNEP Billion Tree Campaign?

On 8 November 2006, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the new campaign ‘Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign’ which encourages all sectors of society to plant at least one billion trees worldwide each year. In a call to further action, the UNEP set a new goal of planting seven billion trees by the end of 2009. Every individual or organization is encouraged to register their pledges and planted trees online while ensuring that the trees planted are indigenous and appropriate for the local environment.

Where can I find more information on the Billion Tree Campaign?

The UNEP has created a wonderful website that can provide you with further information regarding the campaign. This website is:

How do I register my pledges and trees for the Bilion Tree Campaign?

You don’t need to worry about registering your trees. Sunbeams and VBV will register all of the pledges and trees on your behalf. This way we can insure that every tree is counted, but not counted twice.

How much does it cost to plant a tree?

The cost to plant one indigenous tree is 5 euros. This price not only covers the tree, but includes the organization of the event, the land preparation including pre-dug holes, the tools needed to plant the tree(s), a biodegradable ribbon upon which to write your own ‘special message’ and a sticker identifying your participation and commitment to the environment. You will receive your sticker and ribbon(s) the day of the event.

A contribution from the five euros will also be given to a Congolese Roots and Shoots youth group, run under the auspices of The Jane Goodall Institute.  This group aims to plant a green corridor connecting two forests in their region.  The corridor will provide food and shelter for animals migrating from one forest to the other.  Local adults will be trained by the Jane Goodall Institute to protect the area.

Does all the money raised go to planting trees at this event?

While there will be no profit or fee for Sunbeams, VBV or the UNEP, a contribution of the money collected will be sent to a Roots and Shoots youth group in the Congo, to help them plant trees in their country.  All of the money raised does go towards planting trees – globally!

Can I donate without attending the event on March 20th?

Yes. You do not have to be present at the event to ‘plant a tree’ however; we do encourage everyone that is interested to join us that day.

Can we contact Sunbeams for fundraising ideas for our school/organisation?

Yes you can! If you have need for further assistance, please feel free to contact us and we will do what we can to help.

What is the deadline for receiving pledges and the money transfer?

The deadline for advance registrations is Friday 18 March 2011. However you can still come along to event and buy a tree on the spot.
We willl be planting extra trees and can still assign one to you even after the event.

If you wish to plant a large number of trees to let us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it as possible, so that we can assign a designated plot.

Can I just come on the day?

Yes you can just turn up and pay cash as we will have plenty of spare trees. However we would much prefer if you register first to ensure the smooth operation of the event.

How is the money collected?

We ask that schools or organisations participating in the tree palnting have a designated person or system in place to collect the money for the entire group. Once all pledges have been received, we kindly ask that you send us one amount on behalf of the entire group.

What is the Sunbeams account number?

Our account is with Triodos bank:  523-0803235-53. Please clearly mention the Tree Planting Event AND full name of your school when you do the transfer.

What if someone is uncomfortable with giving cash or is giving a larger donation?

We then ask that they contact us directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . We can then give them the information necessary to make their own deposit.

Are there age restrictions to planting a tree?

Anyone over the age of 5 years is welcome to plant their own tree after a short demonstration on the appropriate way to do it. After the event a park ranger will then ‘double check’ all of the planted trees.

Will you provide education materials or a presentation prior to the event?

As a prize to the first 10 organisations that commit to participate at the event, we, along with VBV, will come and put on an educational and funny presentation on the types of trees that will be planted as well as their importance to the environment. IIf you are among the first to commit, you will be notified as soon as possible and we will give presentations in the week of February 14th – 18th.

Where is the forest going to be planted?

This year’s forest will be planted in Gooik, approximately 30km west of Brussels. Click here to see the exact location of plot.
Parking is limited at the site (Frankrijkstraat 10) so we suggest you park in Kerplein, 1755 Gooik, which is a 5 minute walk from the site. Signs will show you exactly where to go.

Is transportation to and from the event provided?

We are working on the logistics of transportation. As we get closer to the event, we will be able to provide you with more information.

How was this location chosen?

This location was arranged through our partner VBV.

How will the forest be utilized?

There is a hiking trail that runs directly next to the pllt of land that will be planted, so you will be able to check on your trees whenever you would like.

What do we need to bring to the event?

All of the tools needed to plant your tree(s) will be provided for you. You just need to wear comfortable and appropriate outdoor clothing suitable for getting a little dirty. Wellington boots are recommended.

Will food be provided?

Food will not be provided at the event. We are currently in the process of meeting with different vendors to see if they would be interested in selling different food items, but for now, we recommend that you bring your own picnic to enjoy under your tree.

How will we know where to plant our trees?

The plot of land will be divided into sections and identified by school &/or organization. We will have volunteers present to direct you.

Will the particpants be safe?

Whilst we will do everything to ensute that everyody is safe at all times, as a small organization we do not have the volunteer capacity to look after every section, therefore we ask that the groups provide supervision over their own designated space.

How do I receive more information about the event?

Please feel free to contact Leanne at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with any specific questions you may have. Please also check this website for regular updates.


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Published in Articles
Saturday, 11 December 2010 22:20

Lease a Christmas Tree

Like last year, the MYP students are currently involved in a project called 'Lease a Tree'. For just 35€, 48 fortunate families can enjoy me, and my pine tree friends', company for three weeks.

Published in Articles
Saturday, 11 December 2010 22:14

Fake Fir: Christmas Trees

“Oh toilet brush oh toilet brush, how lovely are thy bristles...” just doesn’t have quite the same holiday ring to it as the classic carol, does it? I know I was surprised when, in the course of researching this article, I came across the humble origins of the artificial Christmas tree: in the 1930s the Addis Brush Company discovered that their toilet brush factory could produce a reasonable facsimile of a Christmas tree. The artificial tree is now firmly entrenched in the ethos of Christmas consumerism.

Published in Articles
Thursday, 11 November 2010 22:16

Trees and Why We Should be Thankful for Them

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Those who observe it remember all the things they are thankful for: families, friends and blessings such as a house or that dream job. This year, let us add to our list something which has always been there for us but we don't seem to appreciate enough: trees. We know that some trees are a source of food. Others provide lumber and raw materials for making paper and other products. The latter are values trees give us when cut. However, we seem to take for granted that they offer us a number of benefits when they are alive and strong. Besides being grateful for the products we get from them, why else should we be thankful for trees?

Published in Articles
Saturday, 22 January 2011 21:12

Tree Planting Event 2011

are you joining us
at the tree planting event?

here's an information pack with
all you need to know for the day

help promote the event - please email this page to anyone you think might be interested. Or download and print the poster above to display at your work/school/group.
reduce your carbon footprint

In reposnse to the great demand we have extended the deadline for registering to plant or pledge trees. However we would ask you not to make any more bank transfers at this stage. Please use the paypal option or you can also pay directly at the event.

In March 2010 expats and Belgians came together to plant a forest in one day with sunbeams. Over 2,000 trees were planted and are now bursting back into life with the return of spring. Your can see coverage of last year's event here. This year we have a bigger plot of land and hope to plant many more trees - for which we need your help.


Sunbeams invites you to come and help us make Belgium a little bit greener on March 20th, 2011. 

For just €5 you can have a healthy sapling (~125cm tall) to plant in your name, or dedicated to someone else  - register now to reserve your tree(s).

We would love you to come along and plant the trees yourself, but if you can't make it we will have plenty of willing hands to plant them on your behalf.

The sunbeams forest is part of the United Nations Environment  Programme's Billion Tree Campaign.


Sunday 20th March 2011. 10.00 - 16.00


as well as children and adults from national and international organisations, groups and schools, the Slovenian and UK Ambassadors and the EU Commissioner for the Environment will participate in the tree planting event.


tpe11_loc_tn This time the forest will be planted at Oetingen (Gooik), 20km west of Brussels, and we hope to plant over 5,000 trees.

Click here to see the exact location of plot. 

Parking is limited so we suggest you park in Kerplein, 1755 Gooik, which is a 5 minute walk from the site. Signs will show you exactly where to go.


more info?

For further information see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and read our 2010 Tree Planting Event newsletter.


unep_logo BTC_logo_smaller
The sunbeams forest is part of the United Nations Environment  Programme's Billion Tree Campaign.


this empty field needs your help....

Published in Articles
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