Our Founder

Foy Streetman claims to be half Texan, half Okie, and half Costa Rican. Yes, that is a little over the top mathematically, but the sum fits the man. Streetman,a gentle giant in his sixties, is all about commitment to a cause. He comes to ecological concerns from a successful background in oil and manufacturing, and he does so with a vengeance! At an age when most men are retiring, Streetman seems to be gearing up for the long fight. He is an advocate of the ever decreasing rain forests and a friend to endangered species both in the plant and animal kingdoms.

Streetman’s hero is Johnny Appleseed, the American pioneer who traveled westward in the early 1800s planting apple seeds. Just like Johnny, Streetman delights in seeing seedlings grow. He loves to brag about the 24/7, 365 day growing season in Costa Rica where sun and soil can nourish a seedling to a 100 foot tall tree in ten years.

What’s the big fascination with trees all about?

Streetman explains that if the world fully understood the biodiversity and life-sustaining potential of the rain forest, everyone would feel as he does about protecting it. His Internet site (www.tropicjoes.com) is a virtual encyclopedia with links to rain forest topics as well as a portal of information for Tropical Sierra Foundation, Rainforest Credits Foundation and Tropic Joe’s Store.

Understanding the need of a recognizable symbol even for something as important as saving the planet, he remembered Smoky the Bear from his own childhood. Of course, bears aren’t a big factor in a tropical rain forest! After considering the appeal of snakes, lizards, crocodiles and monkeys, he finally discovered the red-eyed green tree frog. “It’s even cuddly,” he smiles. So the little frog becomes Tropic Joe, an easily recognizable symbol encouraging all the noble ideas Streetman wants to promote.

Focusing in on one project at a time or one problem at a time is not for Streetman. He hits the ground running with an idea a minute. His several pronged attack includes reforestation where endangered rain forest land is bought or leased to protect it. Land already devastated is purchased and reforested with trees that have high carbon density which means they provide lots of life-giving oxygen.

Medicinal plant research is an ongoing interest. Streetman sees the value in the old ways practiced by native people for generations and arranges for knowledgeable people from different tribes to share what they know works. Streetman claims there is no technical information on 80% of the species of insects and plants in Costa Rica. Consequently, an in-progress book will combine indigenous culture with scientific studies to preserve some of the priceless knowledge which has only been passed on by word of mouth to this point. Many of the native children are now receiving the education that will allow them to combine both secular and family knowledge, the best of both worlds.

Streetman is the man to get the commercial side of the job done. Oh yes, it takes money to save trees. But he has the connections and the understanding of the financial part of the project to make it a success. His mind is working as we speak! His goal is to see thousands of people the world over as committed as he is to planting trees, saving the environment, being concerned about the future of the planet. Enthusiastic? Oh yes! Check out the site and watch it happen.

If you’d like to contact Foy Streetman about the work the Tropical Sierra Foundation is doing, or if you have any questions, he urges you to contact him at foy@tropicjoes.com

--by Jerre Repass
Brinkley, Arkansas, U.S.A.
6/1/04

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