The Tree-Land Foundation is a conservation and environmental education non-profit corporation that began in 1995. It was created to provide land where young people could have quality, hands-on, outdoor educational, and recreational experiences.
Between 1998 and 2012 Tree-Land Foundation sponsored the ONE AMERICA Program dedicated to fostering a better understanding between people in the U.S and Mexico.
Bob owned various retail bicycle and outdoor equipment businesses for over 20 years. He was a Boy Scout as a youth and was an adult Scout leader for decades. He wrote an article in the late 1980s for the "Frederick News-Post" in Frederick, Maryland decrying the decline in outdoor camping areas where Scouts could enjoy and learn from "primitive" camping experiences, i.e. without the usual restrictions found at commercial, state, and national park campgrounds. Several years after its publication, Charles Klein walked into Bob's bike shop waving the article and asked: "Remember this? I have an idea of how this could be done. You still interested?" Bob and Charlie joined forces and eventually created the Tree-Land Foundation, Inc. (named for the former family business begun by Charlie's grandfather). They sought and accepted a donation from the Bullivant Family of 80 acres of former farmland, fields, and forests in 1995 (in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and Trail in Myersville, Maryland). Bob is the Executive Director of the Foundation.
Charlie was a Texas Tech University professor and a gifted, award-winning landscape architect from Frederick, Maryland. He also was an adult leader with Boy Scouts. Charlie developed the "formula" for the establishment and initial funding of the Tree-Land Foundation. He and Bob also spent many years traveling together throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. At Tech, he was a strong proponent of, and advocate for, distance learning programs and led many student groups to Yucatan for semesters abroad. A gentle giant of a man, Charlie was constantly delighted when working on community service projects in Maya villages. Whenever he stopped working, even briefly, and stood still in the hot, bright sun, crowds of small Maya children would gather around his legs giggling and cooling off in the shade he created. He passed away from complications of COVID-19 on Christmas morning 2020.
Neither Bob nor Charlie knew each other when they each, separately made their first trips to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in 1985. Both, separately, fell "in love" with the places and the people. Over the next 15 years, they traveled throughout the Peninsula together and with dozens of groups they led. They visited scores of well-known and unknown ancient Maya archaeological sites, driving thousands of miles crisscrossing the Peninsula, visiting jungle villages, towns and cities, making friends, learning history, appreciating culture . . . and getting to know more than travel books can explain about the indigenous Maya inhabitants. The Maya are a people disenfranchised and disadvantaged by those who culturally and economically enslaved them following the Spaniards "conquering" Mexico. Despite their subjugation for several hundred years, their Mayan language is now being taught in their schools. An uncovering and a discovering of their actual history and achievements are coming to light. Nearly ALL of this has rapidly evolved over the last 30-40 years. Today's Maya are descendants of people who, throughout their 3000-5000 year history, equaled or exceeded the intellectual and cultural ahievements of their contemporaries on other continents. But, again, until recently, these things were suspected but not known for certain. Tree-Land Foundation is proud to be contributing to bringing them out from the shadows and back into the awareness BY THEM of their history and by the world of their massive achievements.