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Gaia learns the importance of being a Treetender, and that she and all people can take action to care for biodiversity and support the great Tree of Life that connects all species on earth.

Through her travels across the Tree of Life, Gaia also realizes that all of us are part of a connected web of life, and that together we can make a difference in protecting biodiversity and our own life support system on Earth.  Protecting biodiversity is in our hands, and little things that we all can do every day can help sustain our planet and save species, including our own.  


Join Gaia and become a TreeTender!  Here’s how:   You can start by taking care of your own backyard and supporting natural lands in your community. Your yard is an ecosystem teeming with life, and you can help tend the Tree of Life by protecting biodiversity around your home. Parks and conservation areas in local neighborhoods also provide critical habitat for species to thrive. It’s easy. Here are four simple ways you can make a big difference:

  • Grow native plants

  • Protect pollinators such as butterflies and bees.

  • Be a buddy to birds and bats.

  • Support conservation organizations’ efforts to protect wild lands for future generations.


Here are other things you can do every day to support biodiversity:

  • Support organizations that work to protect and restore habitats.

  • Restore native habitat in your neighborhoods. Replace lawns with native plants.

  • Be an advocate for biodiversity and take part in community and citizen science activities in support of biodiversity.

  • Use environmentally friendly products, especially pest control.

  • Learn as much as you can about nature and share your knowledge with others.

  • Encourage and support local and national government initiatives that protect habitat and decrease threats to biodiversity.

  • Reduce energy consumption in your commutes. Drive less and consider walking, biking and using public transportation when possible.

  • Think about what you eat and buy sustainably harvested, local, organic food and drink.

  • Consider overall home energy efficiency and water efficiency.

  • Be mindful of the impact of pets on local biodiversity.

Become a Tree Tender
The Science


The sum of all biodiversity on our planet and how that biodiversity is all related is often referred to as the tree of life.

That biodiversity makes human life possible, providing clean air, water, food, medicines, and more. Despite the central importance of biodiversity to human survival, we know surprisingly little about the species on our planet.


To date, 2.3 million species have been named by scientists as comprising the Tree of Life. However, there may be as many as 20-100 million species on Earth that remain undiscovered and unnamed.  And we are still learning how all the branches of the Tree of Life are connected to each other.   At the same time, biodiversity is under threat due in large part to human activities.


Extinction rates are now 1,000 times what is considered normal over the long history of our planet.  The loss of biodiversity impacts us all, not only in the loss of clean air and water and food, but through the loss of potential medicines and new foods.  


For more information, watch this TEDx talk .


Download the TreeTender curriculum pack for your classroom! 


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Science is based on facts and on often complex results derived from those facts.

But the large number of facts that scientists employ and the technical details are not always page-turning, easy reading, however valuable the results.


The motivation for this movie was to meld science, art, and technology to make an emotional connection to nonscientists through the use of animated characters and story-telling—to make the point that the biodiversity crisis is real and impacts us all, BUT that there are things we can all do to make a difference to protect biodiversity for our children and grandchildren, ensuring a healthy planet.


To make this movie, scientists worked closely with digital media experts to develop a story that highlights the importance of biodiversity to all of us.  We hope this movie captures both the amazing scope of the story of the Tree of Life, that humans are just one small part of that Tree, and how serious the current threats are to the health of the Tree of Life.  

Most of all, however, we hope that the story gets across that the Tree of Life and protecting biodiversity is in our hands and that we can and should all work together to make a difference.

Behind The Scenes
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