Planting trees to fight climate change and restore biodiversity is nothing new. But a project in Washington State, U.S., has brought inmates out of their cells to create a “lush forest” of 100% native species on barren prison land -- and its benefits go beyond helping the environment to helping rehabilitate the prisoners and reconnect them to nature. “Part of the philosophy is to bring a type of rehabilitation program to our inmates that would get them out of the detention facility,” said Chief Vernon Alvarez, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Idaho and Chief of Yakama Nation Corrections. “You know I am going to be able to come by here and show my kids that I did that,” said one prisoner. “It feels great. It makes my heart feel good.” This forest is planted based on a Japanese planting model, in which the trees are planted close together, which increases the amount of carbon dioxide the trees capture and helps them grow faster.

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