Ashaninka Community Leader Benki Pyãnko Joins us for a Planting!

On Saturday, November 2, we were honored to be joined at our Huntington Park planting by Benki Pyãnko, an Ashaninka spiritual and community leader from Brazil.

TreePeople - Huntington Park tree planting with Benki Piyako

The Ashaninka community are an indigenous people residing in the rainforests of Peru and the State of Acre, Brazil. The community has been known historically by its neighbors as a fierce protector of their land and culture – an attitude that exists today in the wake of man-made fires throughout the Amazon Rainforest and an encroachment on indigenous culture. The community won the United Nations Equator Prize in 2017 for its reforestation and culture-protecting initiatives.

TreePeople - Huntington Park tree planting with Benki Piyako

Pyãnko’s commitment to sustainability, the protection of indigenous society, and the future of our world create an international connection between our work and his. His presence at our Huntington Park planting created an empowered, uplifting environment in which to plant trees. We were reminded of the global scope of the environmental community, and for that we are grateful.

Pyañko kicked off the planting with a small ceremony in which he discussed the importance of community building and supporting the environment. He referred to the world’s forests as a blessing for which we must take responsibility.

“If everyone plants one tree, we can create a fresh world,” Pyãnko said.

TreePeople - Huntington Park tree planting with Benki Piyako

He helped plant a new street tree in Huntington Park with a group of volunteers from the Huntington Park High School Key Club. 

“TreePeople’s work in underserved communities like Huntington Park serves as a reminder that creating a more equitable world for everyone is an idea that transcends neighborhoods, cultures, and borders,” said Cindy Montañez, Tree People CEO.  “We’re proud to connect with other environmental leaders like Benki Pyãnko. In the end, we’re all TreePeople.”