Forever Forest is a long-term, global initiative by YTC's parent company in Japan, The Yokohama Rubber Co, Ltd (YRC), and is part of the organization's mandate for environmental preservation.
More than 150 participants consisting of Yokohama employees and guests, including Fullerton Mayor Don Bankhead, worked together to plant more than 500 tree seedlings, which will help absorb carbon dioxide.
Today's Forever Forest planting was just the second such event to take place in North America, following a similar planting at Yokohama's production facility in Salem, VA, last year.
Today's planting was the final event of "Yokohama Green Week," a series of eco-themed events in Fullerton. Yokohama hosted an E-waste recycling event, a free Tire Clinic for the community, and conducted an educational seed-potting lesson at Commonwealth Elementary School.
The tree planting was led by Dr Akira Miyawaki, a world-renowned ecologist noted for his work in reforestation and a professor emeritus at Yokohama National University. He has guided more than 1,700 tree-planting activities around the world, resulting in the planting of 40 million trees. He has additionally led the successful reforestation efforts of tropical rainforests in Malaysia, Borneo and Japan. Dr Miyawaki was also the 2006 recipient of the Blue Planet Prize, the environmental studies equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Prior to the Fullerton tree-planting, Dr Miyawaki investigated trees indigenous to the specific area. Based on this research, he selected a variety of trees, including sugar bush, California holly and five species of oak trees consisting of coast live oak, canyon live oak, Engelmann oak, scrub oak and lakeside lilac.
In its fourth year, the Forever Forest project is now in high gear. In the last two months, Dr Miyawaki oversaw four Forever Forest plantings in Japan, with more than 4,200 people planting over 32,000 seedlings at YRC's Hiratsuka (27,000 seedlings), Shinshiro-Minami (2,649) Onomichi (2,055) and Hiratsuka-East (631) facilities.
Since its inception in 2007, Forever Forest has seen 180,000 trees planted at Yokohama facilities worldwide, including Japan, the Philippines, China, Thailand, and the United States. Approximately 500,000 trees will ultimately be planted at Yokohama facilities worldwide by 2017, thanks to the Forever Forest project.