Waffle forest is creating the first-ever 'tech forest,' employing 'smart trees' to tackle carbon emissions in the metro Phoenix area. Our non-profit organization uses reclaimed waste land, trees, and direct-air-capture technology to reduce carbon and produce cleaner air in the Valley of The Sun and beyond. The project merges the newest technology with nature's own oxygen generators to tackle the problem of air pollution.
"We're planting 'smart trees' on the site of a former landfill and using new technology to measure the amount of carbon they remove from the air," said Waffle Forest founder Ernest Lerma. "We'll be installing state-of-the-art direct-air-capture infrastructure nearby to further reduce carbon emissions and improve air-quality in a green, sustainable, cost-efficient way."
Waffle Forest gets its name from the 15-by-15-foot-square footprints of each "smart tree" installation, filling former waste land with rows upon rows of trees in a waffle pattern. Each tree is fitted with an exclusive high-tech 'TreeTalker,' a small device mounted to each tree which measures its growth and general health, and relays the information to a nearby data server every hour. The devices reveal a tree's absorption of carbon dioxide, track its growth and the amount of water necessary to keep the tree healthy, and sends an alert if a tree is under attack from insects or fungi.
The initial phase of the project will build 100 waffles on the site of a former Phoenix landfill, fully equipped with TT technology to conduct testing using the data gathered by each waffle. Lerma is working with government agencies to plant Waffle Forests on unused or waste land sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area this year; his goal is to expand across Arizona and the United States.
In addition to government and grant funding, the non-profit plans to create sponsorship opportunities for businesses, families, and individuals.
"The primary goal of Waffle Forest is to clean the environment while creating a beautiful, lush landscape in a previously forgotten and mismanaged area. We're not planting seedlings, but grown trees that are 10- to 20-feet tall, so each waffle will be like a pocket park, with a bench where people can relax and enjoy the greenery," Lerma explained.
"Individuals, families, and corporations can make donations for Waffle Forest upkeep. Donors can name and dedicate trees, potentially transforming gift-giving and memorial services," he said. "A QR code posted at each waffle can communicate personalized information from donors, from grandma's recipes to a family tree. We want to give residents and their families the opportunity to create and share memories while contributing to positive change in today's environmental crisis."
For more information or to make a donation, visit WaffleForest.org or email Ernest@WaffleForest.org. Waffle Forest is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.