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N e w s
R e l e a s e

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kelley A. Welf
(763) 576-1596


Editor’s Note:

For more information about the African Blackwood Conservation Project, please visit Mr. Chuwa’s website at:


Chuwa Receives Lindbergh Grant to Replant the African Blackwood, the Tanzanian National Tree

MINNEAPOLIS, June 29, 2000 -- The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation announced today that Sebastian M. Chuwa of the Mpingo Conservation Project in Moshi, Tanzania, has been awarded a 2000 Lindbergh Grant for his research project entitled, "Creating a Community-Based Program to Replant the African Blackwood Tree, Prized for Use in Carving and Woodwind Instruments."

An estimated 20,000 African Blackwood (Mpingo) trees are harvested for commercial purposes each year. The wood is used by artists in carvings; to make some musical instruments; and it also provides a valuable source of income for Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in the world. Once found in 20 African nations, harvestable stands of Mpingo are now only found in Tanzania and Mozambique. The trees have a 70-200 year growth cycle to reach a commercially usable size, and it is estimated that only a 20-year supply of trees remain available for harvest in Africa. For these reasons, the African Blackwood Conservation Project was established as a grass-roots effort to restore the tree in its native land. Chuwa, a botanist, raises and replants the Blackwood and educates African citizens about its conservation and replenishment. He has focused much of his attention on attracting and educating young people by establishing Mpingo Clubs in the local schools. Chuwa also plans to develop educational films and training videos that will demonstrate how to gather seeds and document the germination and planting process. It is hoped that through these videos, he can teach local residents how to identify the tree and help protect it as a valuable resource; influence other towns in the area to set up similar projects; instruct how nurseries should be set up to raise the trees;


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show groups the most suitable habitat for the trees once they are able to be replanted into the wild; and to document Mr. Chuwa’s ongoing tree growth experiments.

Chuwa’s grant is one of 10 Lindbergh grants that were awarded this year, and was chosen from about 180 applicants from around the world. Grants are made in amounts up to $10,580, a symbolic amount representing the cost of building Charles Lindbergh’s plane in 1927, the "Spirit of St. Louis." To date, more than $2 million has been awarded to 214 researchers.

"The Lindbergh Grants program enjoys an excellent reputation among the scientific community and the public sector for supporting exceptional, high-quality projects and dedicated researchers," said Clare Hallward, Chairman of the Lindbergh Foundation Grant Selection Committee. "Lindbergh grants often support innovative ideas, young researchers, and provide ‘seed money’ for larger, long-term projects, making it a highly sought-after award."

Lindbergh Grant applicants undergo a rigorous five-step review process focused on evaluations by two independent review groups, including an 80-member Technical Review Panel. This panel is comprised of knowledgeable and respected individuals drawn from the various fields in which Lindbergh grants are made. "Because of the standards employed by the Foundation's grants program, it has earned international credibility which enables many Lindbergh grant recipients to secure additional funding to continue their important work," said Hallward.

This Lindbergh/Newton Grant is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. James D. Newton of Fort Myers Beach, Fla. The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Minnesota, whose mission is to further Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s vision of a balance between technological advancement and environmental preservation. In addition to the grants program, the Foundation also presents its annual honorary Lindbergh Award for significant contributions toward Charles and Anne’s shared vision of balance. The Foundation also sponsors educational and motivational programs that promote the concept of balance.

The annual deadline for Lindbergh Grant applications is in mid-June. Those who are interested in receiving an application for funding in 2002 should contact The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, 2150 Third Avenue North, Suite 310, Anoka, MN 55303-2200; 763/576-1596. Information is also available on the internet at

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