tree hugger

Joseph Genovese with his invention, the Tree Hugger Hanger.

You can call Joseph Genovese a tree hugger.

That’s fine.

And he wants to get others to hug a few trees, as well.

The Tonto Basin resident retired after 30 years as an industrial designer. He’s now behind a Kickstarter campaign trying to raise money to start producing a product designed to save trees.

“As a longtime outdoorsman, my wife, Jo, and I enjoy the high country every summer,” Genovese wrote in an email to the Roundup. “The last few years, I have noticed the damage to many of the trees around our favorite campsites.”

He said trees suffer from campers hanging things from trees.

“The damage this causes seemed to be a contributor to the killing of the trees around our campsites,” Genovese wrote. “Nails, screws or wires will eventually become part of the tree, which can be harmful to the tree or someone harvesting the tree.”

So, he designed a product that can be attached to a living tree without danger of injury to the tree for camping or yard décor, planters, bird feeders, lights, etc.

“This prompted me to design an attractive hanger that did not damage any live tree when used for camping and yard décor,” he wrote. “It does not require nails, screws or wires to hang things from trees.”

And you can put them exactly where you want them, not just where there are tree limbs.

The 13-gauge steel hangers come two in a box so you can install, for example, a temporary shelf between two trees. The hangers attach to a polyester strap, with a ratchet to adjust to the proper size to hug the tree. The parts are designed to last many years in all kinds of weather.

He hopes to raise enough money to begin manufacturing the product in Rim Country.

“As a resident, I plan to produce and distribute the “Tree Hugger Hanger” from this area,” he wrote. “Our goal is to raise $13,500 to set up space and equipment to keep our production costs down to make these hangers affordable for everyone.”

He hopes to expand the floor space he’s got on his property to make assembly easier.

The campaign runs through the end of May. You can view a video about the project at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gnovzdesigns/tree-hugger-hanger.

Genovese said he’ll use his experience as an industrial designer to make the right decisions as the project moves forward.

“In more than 30 years of experience as an industrial designer, I’ve worked on a variety of products,” he says in a video describing the product.

“Having over 30 years of experience is a good hedge against making bad decisions that could harm a project’s potential. We hope our experience will give you the confidence to help us reach our goal of turning this important project into a needed product and therefore help preserve the beautiful trees for all of us to enjoy.”

Those who make pledges to the project will receive rewards depending on the amount pledged. If he cannot raise the goal amount, they will return the money to everyone who pledged.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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