OneCanopy Sprouts Hope on International Day of Forests

OneCanopy staff in Fort Collins.

OneCanopy, the region’s first privately funded reforestation company, will seed its millionth tree this year

The International Day of Forests (March 21st) is a timely reminder of the critical role trees play in our environment. Here in Colorado, we face a significant challenge: Millions of acres need reforestation due to climate change and human impact.

OneCanopy, founded in 2023 by Fort Collins native Kevin Brinkman, hopes to be a seed of change. The innovative social enterprise is Colorado’s first reforestation company, tackling the challenge from the ground up—literally. The company’s focus is on growing native trees and shrubs specifically suited to the Rocky Mountain region.

“This International Day of Forests, we celebrate all the people and companies taking a proactive approach to reforestation in Colorado,” says director of operations and business development Katelynn Martinez. “We need a massive commitment to reforestation to address the challenges we face.”

Currently, nurseries specializing in these native species are scarce, and even the largest tree producers in the region struggle to meet demand. There are fewer than 10 nurseries focused on native tree species production in the Rocky Mountain region, all of which are currently operating at full capacity and still only fulfilling 20 percent of the trees needed to backfill the large-scale deforestation. OneCanopy is filling this critical gap, supplying vital plant material for government agencies, nonprofits, conservation districts, carbon credit companies, private landowners and other conservation groups. These trees will contribute to wildlife habitat restoration, improve river health after wildfires, prevent soil erosion and even support food production through sustainable practices.

With ambitious goals, OneCanopy is aiming to become the largest seedling producer for conservation in the Rocky Mountain region within the next five years. They plan to grow at least one million trees annually, facilitating the reforestation of 10,000 total acres across the Rocky Mountains, and that’s just the beginning.

“The long-term vision for OneCanopy is to become a one-stop shop for reforestation,” explains founder and CEO Kevin Brinkman. “Eventually, we want to engage at every phase of the reforestation pipeline. For now, we’re starting with the seedling nursery.”

The company plans to become a comprehensive reforestation service, encompassing everything from project financing and seed collection to planting and long-term monitoring. This holistic approach ensures the success of reforestation efforts for years to come.

This International Day of Forests, OneCanopy celebrates a significant upcoming milestone: surpassing one million seedlings grown in 2024. Nearly 185,000 trees have already been planted, while the remaining seedlings are diligently maturing and will be ready for reforestation planting in 2024 and 2025.