Waffle Forest Non-Profit Fights Air Pollution With 'Smart Tree' Tech in Phoenix

First-ever 'tech forest' uses reclaimed land, trees and direct-air-capture technology to reduce carbon emissions
PHOENIX - March 10, 2022 - PRLog -- Merging new technology with nature's oxygen generators to fight air pollution is the goal of Waffle Forest, a non-profit that is creating the first-ever "tech forest" on waste land in the Phoenix area.

"We're planting 'smart trees' on an old 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 adding state-of-the-art direct-air-capture infrastructure to further reduce carbon emissions and improve air-quality in a sustainable way."

The Waffle Forest name comes from the 15-by-15-foot-square footprints of each "smart tree" installation, creating row upon row of trees in a waffle pattern. Each tree is fitted with exclusive high-tech "TreeTalker" (TT) equipment.

"A TreeTalker is a small device mounted to each tree which measures its growth and general health, and relays information to a nearby data server every hour," Lerma said. "TreeTalkers reveal a tree's absorption of carbon dioxide, track its growth and the amount of water necessary to keep it healthy, and alert us if it 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, each 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 waste land sites in the Phoenix metro area this year; the goal is to expand across Arizona and the U.S..

"I was born and raised in a poor Hispanic South Phoenix neighborhood," he said. "I've been fortunate achieve business success, and want to do something to improve my community," he said. "A couple years ago I was looking at the layer of pollution over the city, and had the idea to bring new life to land ravaged by landfills. That's how Waffle Forest was born, with a primary to clean the environment while creating a beautiful, lush landscape in a previously 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.

In addition to government and grant funding, the non-profit is supported by donations. "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.

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.

Ernest Lerma, Founder/CEO
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Tags:Air Pollution
Location:Phoenix - Arizona - United States
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