ROCHESTER, New York and RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK, Madagascar — Tom Snyder wants to change the way people see trees. Specifically, he wants to help donors to Seneca Park Zoo in New York, where he works, “see” the trees that their donations help plant, even if they are thousands of miles away.
To do this, the trees must not only be rooted in the earth but live in the cloud. In January, the zoo will plant 3,000 trees around Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar. Each one will come with its own QR code, photographic record, and geolocation tag. It is an effort to make visible the impact that charitable donations to the zoo have, in the hope that transparency will encourage giving, and ultimately improve tree survival rates.