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Local cafe seeking contributions for natural reserve

Planting and protecting native trees in Colombia to improve biodiversity
Submitted photo

With concern for global warming and climate change, Sylvan Lake’s White Frog Café is endeavoring to rejuvenate a tropical forest in Colombia, asking the community to purchase a tree to support the cause.

Kelly McMillan who co-owns White Frog Cafe with husband Ronald Contreras said, “Our main purpose is to raise awareness of the global crisis situation.

“There are things every one of us can do to help. As a Colombian, we are trying to fix a bigger problem in our community. Many of the farmers in Colombia do not have the resources, the knowledge, or the education to get ahead. This project is going to involve not only our family farm but many neighboring farms.

“The goal is to expand and create a large natural reserve.”

Upon inheriting part of the century-old 800 acres farm from his great grandfather, Contreras jumped to recover the coffee plants, bring them back to a healthy and environmentally friendly plantation grown under the canopy of the tropical forest, just as his grandfather would do.

McMillan said, “The diversity of our coffee forest is very wide where native trees are protecting the coffee plants.

“Climate change and global warming is a problem that is affecting everyone on the planet.

“Ronald’s work here in Canada consists of fighting wildfires with water bomber planes. Every summer he sees the problem first hand and the devastation the wild fires cause. These fires are becoming more extreme and the fire season is getting longer due to the greenhouse effects and higher temperatures around the world. The best way to help to bring the high temperatures down and improve many aspects like air quality, soil health, water conservation and wildlife preservation, is to regenerate the forests and jungle around the globe.

“We believe that it is not just the responsibility of the government but our responsibility as human beings to leave for our children and future generations a cleaner and healthier planet. Our planet has been abused and destroyed by many generations before us, but we know we can change that.”

McMillan said that all fruit generated from these trees will be donated to local schools and food banks.

“These trees will not be cut down, meaning that there will be no profits from lumber. This is a private project with many participants where everyone agrees to preserve the forest.”

The cafe always welcomes anyone interested to be involved in the project.

McMillan said, “There are two options for the purchase of a tree.

“A banana tree has a life cycle of three years and the purchase price is $25. The native trees and fruit trees have a life cycle of approximately 300 years and the purchase price is $100.

“With the purchase of a tree you will receive a certificate of ownership of the tree. This certificate could be made out in your name or dedicated to someone in their honor.

“On the certificate are the coordinates of the land so you can google map the location and see the progress of the trees or visit the land to see it first hand for yourself.”

McMillan said buyers receive yearly updates on the progress of the project. There will be photographs and videos taken that will be publicly shared. Trees can be purchased directly from White Frog Café at 5025 46th street, or through their website at

White Frog Café also supports the local Canadian community with fundraisers for various schools and groups, shared McMillan. She added, “This is our way of helping both our Colombian and Canadian communities at the same time.”

Submitted photo