SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is joining the 49 other states across the country in a competition called the Plant a Tree program.
In its third year, the program is a partnership between Odwalla and America's state parks to support the environment and help with reforestation and planting initiatives.
As of Tuesday, those visiting www.odwalla.com/plantatree can click on one of 50 state park systems where they would like to plant a tree, free of charge.
Odwalla, a natural health beverage company, will double last year's donation — which went to 11 participating states — and plant 200,000 trees through the 2010 program. Tree locations will be determined by website visitor designation.
A trip to the company's website showed that as of 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Utah was far outpacing its Western neighbors, with 36 trees picked for planting. Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico each had one, while Wyoming and Idaho had none. Colorado had 10 so far.
The leaders were Pennsylvania, with 834, followed by Virginia, Michigan and Delaware.
In addition to the Odwalla website, a portion of the trees will be allocated via codes found in the Park Visitor Welcome Kits at participating state parks. Fans of Odwalla on Facebook also can create their own virtual microforest by encouraging others to donate trees via the Plant a Tree program. Fans will get virtual credit when their friends participate in the Plant a Tree program — helping to spread the word about the program. As more friends designate tree donations from Odwalla, the fan will get a virtual forest planted in their name.
"It was great to see the overwhelming response to the Plant a Tree program in its first two years, and we're delighted to be able to expand its reach to all 50 states in 2010," said Chris Brandt, Odwalla vice president of marketing.
The website portion of the Odwalla Plant a Tree program runs through Aug. 15. Codes found in the State Park Visitor Welcome Kits can be redeemed through Dec. 31.
The species of trees donated will vary by region and will be planted in fall 2010 and early 2011. Odwalla has donated 160,000 trees since the program began in 2008.
"It really is a word of mouth program," said company spokesman George Fiddler. "It gets people's competitive juices flowing."