This year’s Greater Hartford Library Virtual Focus Group (see previous entry) got off to a challenging start with Hurricane Sandy and then a Nor’easter interrupting campus and library operations.  Prior to those weather events, we had offers to participate from 20 students.  At the start of the focus group process, however, only six had signed up to receive the necessary instructions.

To help “grease the wheels”, we discussed offering some kind of participation incentive which would increase our focus group numbers while at the same time providing an additional benefit to others.  We felt this kind of incentive would have a broader appeal than say $10 gift cards or other small monetary rewards.

We centered on an organization called Trees for the Future which plants trees in some of the world’s most challenged environments.  We settled on West Africa as a good place for our incentive,  checked with a Peace Corps volunteer who works there who spoke very highly of Trees for the Future, and announced we would plant 25 trees for each participant, up to 500 trees total.

The involvement of 12 participants translated into 300 trees.  We were so thrilled by the quality of their responses, however, we increased our donation to 500 trees which is a “grove” according to Trees for the Future.  The grove will be planted in the Kaolack district of Senegal — a very hot and dusty place much in need of shade  according to the Peace Corps volunteer who assisted us.

A green arrow points to Kaolack, Senegal

A green arrow points to Kaolack, Senegal

Please join with us in celebrating the outcome of our Virtual Focus Group and the good it has done both locally and in a very far off place

William Uricchio — Library Director