Urban & Community Forestry in Action
The Alabama Forestry Commission continues to support tree canopy improvement and storm recovery in Selma.
- In November 2022, as part of the Tree Canopy Improvement program, approximately 400 three-gallon tree containers with dogwood, white oak, blackgum, bald cypress and redbud seedlings were distributed to the public in less than an hour in a small community north of Selma, Alabama.
- Following an EF-2 tornado that devastated Selma a couple months later in January, an Urban Forest Strike Team was deployed to the city in response to a request for help.
- Selma will also receive a share of 1,000 trees in Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 as part of the Alabama Urban Forestry Association / Arbor Day Foundation tree distribution.
Through a new seedling giveaway program called “Free Tree Fridays,” the Arkansas Forestry Division distributed over 4,000 seedlings to residents across the state during 18 Arbor Day events.
Five urban forestry grants were awarded in Arkansas for community improvement projects totaling $26,725, to be met with a 50/50 match by the recipients. Projects included:
- Public radio campaign to educate people about the benefits of urban and community trees, and promoting free seedling giveaways.
- Highway interchange green space improvement.
- Planting trees in city parks.
- A tree planting project with student volunteers who were educated on tree planting, tree care, proper tree maintenance, and streambed restoration.
The program employs local teens to improve their neighborhoods while teaching them about green jobs and the environment.
Through a grant with the Florida Forest Service, Community Greening is continuing to expand their workforce development Youth Tree Team project. This project hires local youth to plant and maintain trees, and conduct community outreach. The team is composed of students from local high schools in areas classified as disadvantaged, and work primarily in disadvantaged communities.
During the 22/23 planting season, more than 2,500 trees were planted or distributed within 16 Georgia communities.
Through its tree planting and tree distribution grant program, called “Georgia ReLeaf,” Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) funds and supports:
- Community recovery from storms. Expanding the use of trees as green infrastructure.
- Supporting tree equity and environmental justice efforts in disadvantaged communities
This program is advertised and administered by the Georgia Tree Council, which serves as Georgia’s urban forest council. GFC provided all funding and technical assistance to communities.
Tree Week strives to foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of the important role of nature and trees in our quality of life.
Tree Week is a celebration of trees and green spaces around us, through a series of nature and tree themed events. The initial week-long celebration in Lexington, KY has expanded to include more than 75 educational tree planting and community events in the area, and has been adopted by 13 additional communities across Kentucky. The program continues to enhance the lives of Kentuckians through the celebration of and engagement with trees and green spaces.
Baton Rouge Green’s Share the Fruit program enhances community and neighborhood experiences over shared resources from “open-source” orchards.
Share the Fruit adds agroforestry practices to an existing urban agriculture network to deliver fresh, healthy foods to underserved communities in Baton Rouge. One-hundred citrus trees have been planted on Housing Authority sites and are collaboratively managed along with the Baton Roots Community Farm and Garden network. This project also provides ample opportunities for staff members to communicate the benefits of trees in developed places beyond fruit production.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission has provided over $250,000 in financial assistance over five years through the Urban & Community Forestry Program.
Sub-awards have supported tree inventory assessments, education and training, and development of advocacy groups and professional staff. Technical assistance has increased within Mississippi communities over the same time period through the expansion of program staff to three full time program positions.
The Sample Tree Inventory and Canopy Cover Assessment Program provides readily available, high-quality urban forestry products to local municipalities.
The North Carolina Forest service, alongside the N.C. Urban Forest Council, have contracted with a vendor to provide tree inventory and canopy cover assessment services, and cloud-based management software, to municipalities on a unit-price, on-demand basis. Through the Sample Tree Inventory and Canopy Cover Assessment Program, municipalities can better conduct urban and community forestry planning and management. Five municipalities were awarded grants and work was completed in fall 2022. Eight projects were awarded in March 2023 and will be completed by the end of July.
With this singular platform, the N.C. Forest Service also houses, manages and shares statewide urban forest inventory and analysis data.
Tree canopy assessments valuated the benefits from tree cover at $132 million in Tulsa and $150 million in Oklahoma City, annually.
Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS) partnered with Up With Trees in Tulsa, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments in Oklahoma City, to conduct Tree Canopy Assessments. This information provided baseline information to help guide urban forest planning.
The new resource has so far assisted fifteen communities with mapping, goal setting for tree canopy, stormwater analysis and development of urban forest master plans.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC), through a cooperative agreement with the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC), has developed a community forestry online self-assessment tool. Using the tool, communities can complete a self-assessment, identifying local needs for technical and programmatic support. Based on the assessments, GIC may provide technical assistance at no cost to the community.
The Trees Count App has motivated action and awareness around tree risk, biodiversity and other important factors.
Through federal grant funding, the Texas A&M Forest Service designed the free Trees Count mobile app, which teaches communities how to conduct sample- or whole-tree inventories. The Trees Count app has been used to teach Texas communities about the proper ways to conduct an inventory.
Trees Count, available on both Android and iPhone, is also available outside of Texas. To date, over 340 reports have been generated, totaling more than 13,550 trees inventoried in more than 20 different countries.
A project driven by students and teachers to advocate for the understanding, and maintenance, of indigenous trees.
The project, developed for Claude O’ Markoe Elementary School, included two significant features:
- It had a forestry curriculum guiding activities designed to expand students’ understanding of trees, and promoting awareness of the benefits of trees.
- It established a demonstration project, which included parents and volunteers, to create sustained commitments to learning about planting and protecting indigenous trees.
A 2021 partnership has led to the largest heat island mapping study in the country, prompting over 900 volunteers to plant more than 2,300 trees in vulnerable areas.
With the help of over 200 community volunteers, the Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and the Science Museum of Virginia developed ten heat vulnerability maps across the Commonwealth. Since then, the heat island study has empowered Virginia’s students to take action. Example projects included community tree giveaways and plantings at neighborhood parks and area schools. One school even removed sidewalks to create plantable space for new street trees. Some institutions also led efforts to establish public food forests in areas which correlated with identified food deserts.