Elf Island And Plant-it 2020 Partner To Support Offline Good Through Online Game Play

Elf Island (www.elfisland.com) this week announced its next GoodQuest, challenging kids to help the African country of Niger with their environment and local sustainability by planting trees.
By: Mitch Leff
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April 13, 2009 - PRLog -- Contact: Mitch Leff, (404) 861-4769, mitch@leffassociates.com


African Villagers’ Needs Come to Virtual Life on Elf Island:
Kids’ Gaming Plants Real Fruit Trees in Niger

ATLANTA, April 13, 2009 – Elf Island (www.elfisland.com), the virtual world that empowers kids to make a difference in the real world through entertaining game play, this week announced its next GoodQuest, challenging kids to help the African country of Niger with their environment and local sustainability by planting trees.  The effort is a partnership with Plant-In 2020, a non-profit that plants trees around the world.

Plant-It 2020, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the proper planting, maintenance and protection of indigenous trees worldwide, and Elf Island are supporting the Eden Foundation, an organization which helps villagers in the desert region of Niger in Africa develop sustainable food sources from special fruit trees that grow in the harsh desert environment.

Through a newly coined term called Mirrored Gaming, Elf Island works directly with non-profit partners like Plant-It 2020 to support real world projects – in this case, planting trees in Niger - and then mirroring an online game to bring the project to life.

As kids meet the collective goal within Elf Island by Gaming for Good their actions are “mirrored” offline and to the real word.  To accomplish this, nonprofit initiatives are woven into Elf Island’s lush, interactive environment using multimedia game play, social networking, storytelling and a vibrant economy.

Every day, more than 80,000 acres of forest disappear worldwide, cut down to produce building materials or cleared for development or agriculture.  But unchecked deforestation is one of the greatest challenges facing the environment, endangering or destroying entire species and turning vast stretches of once productive forest into desert.  

How Mirrored Gaming Works
•   In the Virtual World of Elf Island: Kids must navigate the roots of a tree to the nutrient filled layer of soil buried deep below its surface.  They’ll collect energy-filled gems along the way to ensure that they have enough “turns” to reach the end.  Each time they will help one of four randomly selected types of trees.
•   In the real world of Niger: As a result of the kids meeting the collective virtual goal, Elf Island will donate money to plant 2,000 trees in Niger.

Elf Island has created a specific GoodQuest virtual game that triggers real world results in support of the Eden Foundation’s mission to help African villagers develop sustainable food sources. By Gaming for Good, kids participate in the Elf Island economy by earning and purchasing the digital items they need to complete each GoodQuest on the Island.  Elf Islanders are able to understand the challenge at hand and feel the emotive pull that they helped families by watching and reading their stories through video and photos, blogs and photos.

In addition to helping real people in Niger, this GoodQuest teaches kids the benefits of tree planting.  Reforestation improves human hunger and thirst, moderates climates, saves endangered species, stops landslides, reduces poverty, stops desertification, and reduces greenhouse gases.

“Elf Island is bringing Plant-It 2020 and the Eden Foundation missions alive and exposing kids to the real world needs of others,” said Liz Kronenberger, co-founder, Elf Island.  “Kids are a powerful force for good, and we expect their GoodQuest efforts will allow Elf Island to provide enough financial support to plant hundreds and hundreds of trees in Niger.”

As part of the company’s operational structure, when the kids playing Elf Island meet the collective GoodQuest goal, funding is made by Elf Island to plant the trees.
“For over a decade, Plant-It 2020 has dedicated itself to replenishing communities and forests. Most western kids are never exposed to the needs of kids their own age in Africa.  Bringing our mission to kids through Elf Island’s interactive virtual world is very exciting, especially as we believe everyone makes a difference,” said Michael Thau, executive director, Plant-It 2020.

Plant-It 2020 is the fourth nonprofit to benefit from Elf Island’s Mirrored Gaming model. Future Elf Island GoodQuests are in production with other non-profits that also help people in need, as well as organizations that help with environmental and animal protection.

A partnership with Polar Bears International was just completed, with kids helping track polar bears in the Arctic. The kids successfully met the goal, well within the 30-day period of the GoodQuest, resulting in tracking a real polar bear for six months. Along the way, Elf Islanders will follow the research findings and see the polar bears actual location through Google Earth.

With parental permission, and a basic membership that is free, kids can enter and play limited offerings and chat in Elf Island. As a paid subscriber, kids can become an active participant in GoodQuests and upgrade features. Kids also have the unique ability to unveil secret passageways, communicate with hybrid-animals, participate in an economic marketplace and ultimately learn the Secret of Elf Island.

Every element of Elf Island’s game play supports individuality, self-expression and character building:
•   Kids have access to 2,000 variations of personalization; include gender, hairstyles, skin, hair and eye color, and eight different action sequences for their Avatars.
•   Elf Island fosters healthy friendships through interaction with elves and animals. The animals give a personal response and provide tips, guidance and clues about Elf Island, ultimately leading to the secret of Elf Island.
•   Elf Island uses real moderators and robust dictionary chat to ensure safety is maintained and enforced at all times.

About Plant-It 2020
Plant-It 2020 is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit foundation dedicated to properly planting, maintaining and protecting as many indigenous trees as possible worldwide.  In addition to replenishing cities and forests, Plant-It 2020 also periodically provides educational workshops on forestry issues to thousands of children. Founded by the late singer John Denver in 1992, the organization’s reforestation projects in many countries often directly help humanity by increasing crop production, fresh water availability and fuel-wood via dropped branches.  Visit Plant-It 2020 online at www.plantit2020.org.

About Elf Island
Elf Island is the first kids virtual world specifically created to instill positive social and environmental values into the world’s future stewards. Elf Island turns online gaming efforts into tangible offline results through nonprofit partnerships and Mirrored Gaming. Elf Island invented Gaming for Good, Mirrored Gaming and GoodQuests and is an independent children’s interactive entertainment developer that delivers entertaining game play for kids that inspires, rewards actions and builds awareness of social issues around the world. Craig and Liz Kronenberger are a dynamic husband and wife duo, parents to twin boys, and veterans in the online gaming industry that founded Elf Island in June 2007(www.elfisland.com).

About the Eden Foundation
Since 1987, Eden has been running a project just south of the Sahara desert, helping the farmers and their families achieve a sustainable life with the means available to them. Their main problem is lack of food. Our solution is to bring them trees and bushes that can grow naturally in this dry area and give food, even in times of need. Since our arrival, Eden has served more than 2500 households in the region. http://www.eden-foundation.org/index.html
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