Norbil, orchids, and hummingbirds

August 8, 2017
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Thanks for your support!

Your response to A Mother’s Day Gift for Mother Earth was overwhelming, and moms everywhere are thrilled that you honored them with an enduring commitment to protect some of the rarest and most endangered orchids on Earth. Norbil’s mom was thrilled, too.

Norbil was once an illegal rainforest logger. He thought he had no choice because he had to somehow make a living to support his family. So he cut trees and sold the wood. One day, though, in the silence of the forest, something colorful caught his eye—an orchid with a hovering hummingbird. He watched in wonder. He had never paid attention to the orchids, and he had never in his life seen a hummingbird. He placed his chainsaw on the forest floor and thought, “What am I doing?”

These beautiful rainforests, for all of their might and magnificence, are delicate systems. Everything is interconnected and mutually reliant. Cut the trees, and the hummingbirds go. Without the hummingbirds for pollination, the orchids die. Without the rainforests, millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases are not absorbed from the atmosphere.

Norbil had heard that this project could help him work in harmony with the forest. He contacted the project’s representatives and learned that, in return for agreeing to stop cutting rainforests, the project would provide practical ideas and technical assistance to help him make a living in a better way. Norbil, like hundreds of others, jumped at the chance.

Norbil now owns a popular and profitable ecotourism preserve where his beloved hummingbirds and orchids thrive in their natural habitat. “I’m living the benefits of conservation,” he says.

For your generous support, Norbil and many, many proud mothers warmly say, “Thank you!”