Sunbeams Events
Sunday, 03 June 2012 19:53

We are happy to report that our tree planting in  the ForÍt de Soignes / ZoniŽnwoud on 18 March was a complete success. More than 500 of you joined us and planted nearly 2,500 trees! Our heartfelt thanks to all you who came along or contributed. You can browse though some pictures of the event in our online album.

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Join us at our next tree planting event on 18 March 2012 - from 10.00 to 16.00 - in the ForÍt de Soignes / ZoniŽnwoud which will be dedicated to Wangari Maathai. Check out this list of frequently asked questions and watch out for updates on this website, on our Facebook page and in our newsletter

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Friday, 20 May 2011 11:28

Thank You Everyone!

On a beautiful spring day, people of all ages and backgrounds planted the second Sunbeams forest in Belgium. International and Belgian schools, scout groups and girl guides, ambassadors and children, Belgian and expat organisations, all had the same task on that sunny day: to turn a meadow into a forest. Together, they planted 4300 trees in one day in the outskirts of a village called Oetingen (Gooik)!


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the sunbeams tree planting event on 20 March was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who pledged trees came along - especially the sunshine! A full report will be posted here soon. In the meantime you can see some photos in our picasa album - - check back regularly as we will be updating it with photos as they come in.

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Thursday, 17 March 2011 16:57

tree planting event 2011 - information pack

Following is some useful information in preperation for the tree planting event on 20 March 2011.



Copy_of_VBV_logoThe tree planting event is organised by sunbeams with the technical assistance of the Flemish Forestry Association (VBV - Vereniging voor Bos in Vlaanderen) and the support of the King Baudouin Foundation (BreXpat), the Agency for Nature and Forest, and the Flemish Government.


The forest will be planted in the village of Oetingen, which is in the commune of Gooik, 20km west of Brussels.

The address of the site is Frankrijkstraat 10, however there will be limited parking in the adjacent streets so we encourage you to park in the town square (Kerkplein, 1755 Gooik - Lat. Long. 50?46'23.22"N  4?03'47.76"E or 50.77305334702715,4.063235521316528) which is a short walk from the site. The walking route will be signposted for you.

Public Transport

You can travel to the site on public transport from Brussels Station in an hours, using a train and 2 buses. Trains depart about every 2 hours.
You can use the De Lijn journey planner to plan your route. 
The destination information is:
Aankomst gemeente: GOOIK
Nr. 10


The event takes place between 10.00 and 16.00 on Sunday 20 March 2011 and you may come whenever suits you. Larger groups have been asked to co-ordinate their arrival with us to avoid too many people arriving at the same time. There will be a formal welcome for several dignitaries at 11.30.

Clothing & Footwear

We have arranged that it will not rain on Sunday and the temperature will be moderate, however please keep in mind that you will be in a field with long grass so please dress suitably and wear sturdy, waterproof footwear.


On arrival please go to the registration tents where you will be given the appropriate number of tags for your trees.


If you have not yet paid for your tree(s) please be prepared to pay with cash on the day. If you have made a transfer since Wednesday please bring a copy as proof of payment.


After registration you will be given a short demonstration on how best to plant your tree(s). The holes will be prepared in advance and spades will be available for your use.


Once you have planted your tree(s) you are welcome to stay and enjoy the atmosphere for as long as you like. Several organisations will have stands for you to visit, including: (bio-basket delivery, with hot soup to sample!), Brussels Gardener's Club (gardening), Jeugdbond Voor Natuur (Nature), Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen (Birds),

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Thursday, 10 March 2011 23:24

Tree Planting - CO2 Offsetting

As well as making Belgium greener, planting trees with sunbeams will help reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some facts about CO2:

  • Europe produces the equivalent of 9 tonnes of CO2 per person per year (so everybody should plant 40 trees!)
  • 1 tree represents roughly 0.2 tonnes of CO2  saved per year
  • Which is approximately the CO2 produced by:
    • 1 return flight Brussels-Dublin
    • 1,000km in an average car (Volkswagen Golf)
    • generating 350kWh of electricity Ė the average person in Belgium uses 2,263kWh per year (6.5 trees) whilst in Germany itís only 1,533kWh (4.4 trees)

Please note that the figures above are only intended as a rough guide. The amount of CO2 produced various means varies greatly and the amount of CO2 absorbed by trees also varies based on species, location, age etc.

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WHAT: The 2nd Sunbeams tree planting event! As a contribution to the United Nations Environment Programmeís (UNEP) Billion Tree Campaign, Belgians and expatriates of all ages will join forces in Gooik on Sunday, March 20th, 2011 to plant a forest of several thousand trees in a single day. The initiative is organized by Sunbeams with the technical assistance of the forest association of Flanders or Vereniging voor Bos in Vlaanderen (VBV). This initiative is supported by the King Baudouin Foundation (BreXpat), the Agency for Nature and Forest, and the Flemish Government.

As well as planting a forest in Belgium, participants at this Sunbeams event will be making a financial contribution to the planting of a green corridor in the Republic of the Congo, a project organized by Jane Goodallís Roots and Shoots program.

Media attending the event will be able to:

  • Interview tthe EC Commissioner for Environment (Mr. Janez Poto?nik), the British Ambassador, (Mr. Jonathan Brenton), the Slovene Ambassador (Mrs. Anita Pipan), the founder and president of Sunbeams (Mrs. Ilke Pedersen-Beyst), the representative of UNEP (Mrs. Cecilia Morales), the director of the VBV (Mr. Bert De Somviele), and other key guests, including a delegation from the Slovenian Embassy who will be commemorating their national independence.
  • Take human interest video or photographs of the event organizers, the site of the new forest, and event participants, including children from many Belgian and international schools actively planting trees together.

WHEN: 11.30 a.m. on Sunday, March 20th, 2011 (Official Welcome)

WHERE: Frankrijkstraat 10, 1755 Gooik.

WHO: Sunbeams is a not-for-profit association that helps people living in Belgium take practical steps towards living a more environmentally-responsible lifestyle.

The VBV (Vereniging voor Bos in Vlaanderen) is a key European participant in UNEPís Billion Tree Campaign and has pledged to plant 1 million trees in Flanders. They provide the technical support to the Sunbeams event.

UNEP is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. Its Billion Tree Campaign is a tree planting initiative that has already seen over 10 billion trees planted worldwide.

TO ATTEND: To register your interest in attending this event, please contact Ilke Pedersen-Beyst: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (+32 (0)488 878 014).


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The European Union Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Janez Potocnik, will be amongst the participants at the 2nd 'plant a forest with sunbeams' event, which takes place on Sunday 20 March 2011 in Gooik, 20km west of Brussels.The Commissioner will join other members and officials of the Slovenian community in Belgium to plant 50 Lime trees to celebrate Slovenian national day.

In March 2010 expats and Belgians came together for the first 'plant a fores't with sunbeams' event. Over 2,000 trees were planted in one day and are now bursting back into life with the return of spring. 

This year we have secured a bigger plot of land and hope to plant many more trees. As well as having a tree panted in your name, participating at the event cancontribute to offsetting your carbon emissions. You can either come along to the event and plant your own trees, or let us plant the tree for you and dedicate it to you or somebody special. It's a great way to commerate a special event or remember someone special.

The event is open to all and full details can be found here.

Your can see coverage of last year's event here.

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Last year expats, Belgian nationals and the Flemish Forest Association accomplished something miraculous: the creation of a new forest in mere hours! If you were there, you might remember the chilly damp weather or the glee of muddy children. Surely, you would recall the sight of a barren plot of land magically filling with fresh saplings. That day, a monument to solidarity in the face of threats to our global environment was born. The tender young forest is thriving today.

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This year the Republic of Slovenia is celebrating its 20th anniversary of independence. To commemorate this, as well as the International Year of Forests, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, and to help greening our Planet, the Embassy of Slovenia will join us at the tree planting event on Sunday, the 20th of March 2011 in Oetingen, 20 km west of Brussels.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Belgium, the embassy staff, and Slovenians living in Belgium will plant 20 linden trees (tilia europaea). In Slovenia, the linden tree has been considered much more than a renewable natural resource. From time immemorial, it has been regarded as a national symbol due to its special role. To this day, many a Slovenian village still clusters around an ancient linden tree, and for a good reason. Throughout history, the tree has served as a social and political center of the village. To its inhabitants it symbolized the "tree of life".


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