Every morning, for 40 consecutive days, Chilean runner Matías Anguita ran a marathon.
Departing from the far northern city of Iquique, the ultramarathon runner reached his destination of Santiago on Sunday, July 29, covering an incredible 1,043 miles (1,680 km) in little over a month.
Why? Anguita was on a mission to raise awareness and money for the Reforestemos Patagonia campaign – a non-profit initiative aiming to plant over one million native trees in Chile’s Patagonia over a five-year period, after the iconic region was ravaged by fire earlier this year.
The Reforestemos Patagonian campaign
Inspired into action by the wildfires in Torres del Paine National Park in late 2011 and early this year, the non-profit, public-private initiative is collecting donations from Chileans and people around the world to donate native trees to the national parks and reserves of southern Chile.
The plan proposes an ecological restoration procedure covering a five year period. It aims to reforest 247 acres (100 ha) per year, at a density of just over 800 trees per acre. An estimated 200,000 trees will be planted per year.
Leading the campaign is the Fundación Imagen de Chile (FiCh), a public/private foundation dedicated to promoting Chile’s image abroad, and Sernatur, Chile’s official tourism promotion agency.
“This is the most ambitious reforestation initiative in the history of Chile,” FiCh Executive Director Blas Tomic said in a press conference earlier this year in Santiago. “It encourages all Chilean citizens, not just ecologists and environmentalists, to take responsibility and help protect one of the most important natural ecosystems on our planet.”
And with efforts like Anguita’s the campaign is off to a flying start – the runner helped add 2,000 trees to the 81, 074 that had been purchased at the time of writing.
Want to get involved?
Getting involved is easy, and you get a chance to “own” or donate a tree in Patagonia, and you can do it from anywhere in the world, and the best thing is that all you need is US$4 and a computer. Just head to the official website and follow the steps.
Once you have bought a tree, you’ll receive an electronic certificate and a link to Google Maps with the geographic location of your tree, so you can learn about and even visit the area that you have helped reforest.