A Man and His Forest

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the problems of the world — to think that, despite all good intentions, one person cannot really change things. One story we’d like to share is a perfect counterpoint—how one person can make a tremendous difference to the people and the planet. Stories like this renew the urgency and importance of our work at the Arbor Day Foundation and inspire us all to continue to make a measurable positive difference.

Moved to action after seeing the effects a monsoon had on the wildlife of his river island home, Jadav Payeng, then only 16 years old, decided that he was going to do something about it. The area, a barren wasteland on the Jorhat sandbar in the Brahmaputra River, had been steadily washing away and was predicted by scientists to simply vanish  in as little as 15-20 years. Payeng began planting seeds in the sand in an effort to do something—anything—to help restore this place that so many humans and animals had called home.  Thirty years later, Payeng has reforested more than 1,350 hectares of land: a plot larger than New York’s Central Park.

A short documentary film recently celebrated the news of Payeng’s incredible accomplishment.

Our vision at the Arbor Day Foundation is to become a leader in creating worldwide recognition and use of trees as part of the solution to global issues. Payeng, who singlehandedly planted a forest where once there was nothing, is a living embodiment of this vision:

He is helping to combat climate change by restoring the land of his island, making it more resilient to rising sea level and resistant to erosion and effectively combating what would have been its eventual disappearance from the face of the earth.

He is actively reversing biodiversity loss through his reforestation work by recreating habitat and bringing species like tigers, rhinos (the Royal Bengal tiger and one-horned rhino being some of the endangered species), elephants, vultures, migratory birds and others back to the area.

He is strategizing for the sustainable preservation of his forest area with his plan to plant coconut trees: which may help alleviate hunger as well as provide a potential economic boon to the area and mitigate poverty.

It can be overwhelming to think of all of the challenges facing the world, and to think, ‘what could I, as one person do?’

Payeng may have thought that same question to himself, and he answered it by planting a tree.

Spring Tree Blooming, Planting (and shipping) is Underway

righttreeplaceThe vivid blooms of spring trees and shrubs are one of the season’s absolute highlights for many of us—from the magnolias and forsythias that herald the start of the season to the redbuds, crabapples and flowering cherries that steal the show with their spectacular displays, to the heavenly scent of lilacs that pervade gardens and yards this time of year…giving us pause, and almost always, an involuntary, “ahhh.” It’s a season that seems to intrinsically say to us, “let’s grow something!”

Forsythia_2-840Saucer-Magnolia_2-862 (1)Fragrant-Lilac_1-856

Have you done your tree and shrub planting for this year? Depending on where you are in the country, planting season may be at its height, or perhaps may have just passed. For places in higher Hardiness Zones, i.e. much of the west coast and southern U.S., the window of time for planting has likely passed–it’s already getting quite warm in those regions, which isn’t going to give your new tree its best chance at survival and growth.

 hardiWhat’s a Hardiness Zone? The Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States and Canada into 11 areas based on a 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in the average annual minimum temperature. (The United States falls within Zones 2 through 10). For example, the lowest average temperature in Zone 2 is -50 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the minimum average temperature in zone 10 is +30 to +40 degrees Fahrenheit. Learn more about Hardiness Zones at arborday.org.

But in other parts of the country, for example, the northern, midwestern, northeastern and more inland northwest, planting time for trees and shrubs is in full swing. Maybe you’ve got a bare, new yard, or perhaps you’re adding to an existing array of trees and shrubs. Need some landscape design inspiration? Arborday.org has free, professionally designed landscape plans that focus on trees and shrubs, available to anyone for download. One such plan is called the Flowering Green Giant, a design combining a beautifully contrasting trio of trees—the rich green of a Green Giant Arborvitae, the sprightly, springtime yellow of Forsythia, and the dazzling profusion of white blooms that grace the Yoshino Cherry Tree.  Other designs include the a bird-attracting tree/shrub combination (Bird Magnet Hedgerow), a blooming shrub plan set beneath an existing shade tree (Shrubs Under a Shade Tree) , a flowering tree/hedge plan planted along an existing wood line (Flowering Woods Edge), and more!

Know what trees you want but haven’t gotten to ordering them yet? If you’re in Zones 2-5, you can still order trees from the Arbor Day Foundation Online Tree Nursery for large array of affordable trees and shrubs.  (Look up your Hardiness Zone here if you’re not sure what zone you’re in). Because we only send trees at the best time for planting in your area, our final deadline for accepting orders for these higher zones (that will still be delivered this season) is May 14. If your zone’s window for ordering has passed but you’re still full of inspiration and enthusiasm to plant, consider placing your order to prepare for next planting season—your trees will ship to you at the opportune time to plant this coming fall.  Fall planting has many benefits, especially its ability to give trees a fighting chance at establishing and developing strong roots before the harsh heat of summer. Read more about the benefits of fall planting here.

Already have your trees (or have them on the way) and are ready to plant? Consider our 9 Tree Care Tips & Techniques, an easy-to-follow guide that takes you step by step from selecting and planting the right tree, to the care and upkeep of a mature tree. Remember, what you do to your tree in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its life span. Planting done with care and some knowledge of trees and their needs will help your trees grow more rapidly and live at least twice as long as improperly planted trees.

Another great source of information is our comprehensive set of Tree City USA Bulletins, which feature in their issues such topics as “How to Select and Plant a Tree,” “Trees for Wildlife,” “How to Landscape to Save Water,” “How to Prevent Tree/Sign Conflicts,” “How Trees Can Save Energy,” “Making Good Use of Small Spaces” and many more.

One last thing—before you get that hole dug and your new tree planted, make sure you’ve got “Right Tree in the Right Place.” Planting an appropriate tree in an appropriate location is vital for the health and longevity of the tree as well as your satisfaction with it—for example, a tree too close to the house could be a hazard, and a tree with “too-tall” potential will be unlikely to remain if it interferes with a power line overhead.tree house

Are you gearing up for planting trees and shrubs right now, or have you just finished? What did you plant? Please let us know in the comments.

Planting Trees to Attract Birds

While birds are a joy to watch and listen to all year American-Mountainash_3-872long, it is particularly during the long winter months when their bright and cheerful presence is even more appreciated. Following an especially cold and dreary winter, the coming of spring brings thoughts of planting trees and shrubs to attract these delightful feathered friends. While they certainly enrich our lives with their presence when they grace our yards and gardens, we, too, can do much for them by providing necessary food sources and habitat.

By planting certain species of trees and shrubs, you can provide year-long natural food sources for these creatures, particularly during times of year when food is scarce. Selecting several trees or shrubs that have berries during different times of the year are great choices—and most also provide beauty in the form of spring blossoms or vibrant fall foliage. Blackhaw-Viburnum_1Great choices include Dogwood, Serviceberry, Mulberry, Viburnum, Sargent Crabapple, American Mountainash, Black Tupelo, Juniper and Winterberry Holly.

The cover trees and shrubs provide is also vital for attracting birds, as they need areas of shelter and protection for breeding, nesting, sleeping, traveling, and hiding from enemies. Many trees and shrubs can be both sources of cover and food; some good choices include Canadian Hemlock, Fir, Spruce, Eastern Redcedar, Birch, and Oak.

The Arbor Day Foundation and arborday.org are great sources of information.  White-Fir_1-839Our Tree City USA Bulletin #13: Trees for Wildlife and Conservation Trees: How to Attract Songbirds and Wildlife are excellent resources.

And please remember to provide a water source. Birds, like all wildlife, need water, and by installing a bird bath or other water feature, you will attract even more birds and provide a better habitat for them. Be sure to change the water frequently and keep it free of ice in the winter.

Ready to attract birds to your yard and garden but don’t know where to start?

Among the several free landscape designs available for download is the “Hedgerow Bird Shelter” also known as the “Bird Magnet.” Bird-MagnetBird-LayoutDesigned by registered landscape architect and president of Kersey/Wike Associates, Joel T. Parker, this landscape plan is attractive to birds by way of food and shelter as well as providing visual interest for all seasons. It includes the use of Washington Hawthorne, American Cranberrybush Viburnum, Arrowwood Viburnum and Winterberry Holly. A useful addition to any bird-lover’s property, this landscape plan is a source of beauty and enjoyment. Read more about the details of this design plan on the original arborday.org blog post.

Prairifire-Flowering-Crabapple_1-820The arborday.org tree nursery also offers a Trees for Birds Collection, a bird-friendly tree package containing one of each of the following: Purpleleaf Sand Cherry, Prairiefire Crab, American Mountainash, Canadian Hemlock and Norway Spruce.

What trees attract birds to your yard? Do you have any specific types of birds that seem to love your trees and shrubs? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

Your questions about fall planting answered!

 Is it better to plant in spring or fall?

Both seasons can be effective times to plant your trees and shrubs. A great benefit of planting treeplanting in the fall is that tree roots remain active throughout the winter, taking advantage of moisture from rain or snow. Trees planted during this season get a nice head start on establishing themselves in the spring through vigorous root elongation and a flush of twig growth. Keep in mind that some plants, such as blueberries, blackberries and grapes, have the best chance of growing up strong and healthy when planted in the spring.

What are some tips for planting in the fall?  

  • If you cannot plant immediately due to adverse weather conditions, you may store your trees for up to 5 days. If storing your trees for longer than 5 days please follow the instructions for Heeling in Your Trees.
  • Avoid planting your trees in pots, if possible.
  • When you plant in the fall, be sure to mulch with wood chips, straw or other material to reduce alternate freezing and thawing that can result in “frost heaving.”
  • Avoid using fertilizer, potting soil or root starter, as they may be detrimental to the health of your new trees.

I’m ordering natural root trees…are they watering image croppedok to plant this late in the season?

Planting trees in late fall is well worth some cold hands! To be sure that your trees arrive in a strong and healthy condition, nurseries will usually ship “natural root” or “bare root” stock only when it is dormant in the fall season. Trees will only go dormant after a few hard frosts, so it’s necessary to wait until then to be able to ship them safely.

But it’s cold! Are the trees able to survive the weather?

As long as a spade can be inserted into the ground, it is okay to plant the trees. In other words, you may plant your trees until the ground is completely frozen solid—so until you can safely ice skate or ice fish on your local lakes or ponds, planting your dormant trees is just fine.

What can I do to prepare for my trees’ arrival?

  • Pre-dig your holes now, so when your trees do arrive you are prepared to immediately get them in the ground.
  • Store the dirt you removed from the hole in a garage or tool shed where it will not get as cold. Left outside, it may harden and prove more difficult to work with once the time comes to plant.
  • mulchPre-purchase mulch, as some stores may not have as large of a mulch supply in their inventories as the season progresses—you want to make sure you’ve got plenty of mulch on hand for your newly planted trees once they arrive!

Happy planting!

(Note: If you live in Hardiness Zone 6, you may still order trees from the Arbor Day Tree Nursery until November 19. If you live in Zone 7, 8, or 9 you may order until November 26 and still receive your order this shipping season. Hardiness Zones 0-5 are currently being shipped.)

 

Edible (& Still Beautiful) Landscaping

What is “edible landscaping”? Defined as an “integration of food-producing plants within an ornamental or decorative setting,” edible landscaping can create a productive, beautiful yard that nourishes body and soul.

Why incorporate food-producing plants in your yard?

-As “local” as it gets: you know exactly where your food comes from, and have control peachesover any pesticides or sprays that are used. We all can agree that food grown in your own backyard tastes so much better than produce picked before its prime and shipped thousands of miles. Additionally, it’s a great way to supply yourself with fruits or veggies that may not ship well or are hard to find or expensive to buy in grocery stores.

-Money savings: growing your own fruit trees and nut trees, as well as vegetable and herb plants, can save major bucks on your grocery bill—a family of four can save $1,000 a year by devoting just 100 square feet of the yard to planting edibles, says Lindsey Mann, owner of Sustenance Design in Decatur, Ga. What’s more, an edible landscape can “begin reversing the cash flow of a grass lawn not only within the first year, but within the first few months,” according to Mann. The rate of return will increase through the years once the start-up costs have been paid and the fruit trees mature and start producing. Why not eat your yard instead of it eating at your pocketbook?

-Added beauty: many fruit and nut trees can be simply spectacular additions to a yard with their profusions of blooms or lovely autumn color. Apples, apricots, cherries, crabapples, peaches, pears, plums, quince, serviceberry and almonds are flowering favorites, while blueberries, crabapples, persimmon and serviceberry shine with their fall foliage.

almonds-Share the wealth: you might even get to the point where you have more than you can even eat! Sharing your excess fruit, nuts, veggies or herbs with neighbors is always a nice gesture or a great way to welcome a new neighbor to the block. You could even share your bounties with a local food bank, for which fresh, local produce is often in short supply.

-Beneficial effects of nature and learning opportunities: let’s not forget the immense personal satisfaction you get knowing you grew your own food, as well as the opportunity to get outside more and tend your plants (an activity repeatedly shown to be a health booster and stress-reducer). Not to mention what educational gold mine it could be for children: both learning about natural, scientific processes and healthy eating habits.

However, it is important to be realistic and know that it may be wise to start out small. Rosalind Creasy, an edible landscaping expert, advises:

“Small and simple means you can easily maintain what you’ve started. Temper enthusiasm with the knowledge that many edible plants not only need maintenance (mulching, watering, weeding, feeding, and pruning), but also take effort in the form of harvesting and cooking- and preserving a large harvest. Choose dwarf fruit trees over standard-size trees and select fruit varieties that spread the harvest over many months.”

Some great suggestions for planting based on all the spaces you have (or don’t) from Ohio and Purdue Extension offices:

-Get creative with substitutions! Where you might have planted a shade tree, plant a fruit tree. Where you need a deciduous shrub, plant currants or hazelnuts. Where you have always had chrysanthemums, plant bachelor’s buttons—you can eat them.

-Strawberries and shorter herbs are a great choice for low ground cover (plant strawberries in/onto a barrel if you’re lacking more in horizontal space).

-Need to keep it somewhat low to the ground but still have some room to grow upwards? Plant blackberries (erect), blueberries, currants, elderberries, gooseberries, quince, raspberries, serviceberry—these are all shrubs that grow 3-8 feet in height.

-Have enough space for something 8-15 feet? Try dwarf and semi-dwarf apples; dwarf apricots, cherries(tart), peaches, European pears and plums; filberts, paw paw, quince and serviceberry.

-For space allowing for 15-30 foot trees, great choices include standard-sized apples, cherries, crabapples, pears, or serviceberry.

-Tons of space? Butternuts, Chestnuts (Chinese), Hickories, Persimmon, Black Walnuts and Persian Walnuts will reach over 30 feet in height.

(Still having a hard time choosing? The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Wizard is a free online guide to help you quickly and easily select a fruit or nut tree).

Creasy sums it up best here:

“Certainly, an edible landscape is one of the most rewarding yards one can have. You’ll be able to grow tasty treats that can’t be bought for love or money, often with enough to share with friends and neighbors. An edible landscape is the only form of gardening that truly nurtures all the senses.”

Do you practice edible landscaping? What food-bearing plants do you grow and what would you like to start growing? Share in the comments!

Happy planting (and eating!)

Sources & additional recommended reading:

Trees as living legacies

One of the things that fascinates us the most about trees is their incredible potential for longevity. While there are a few short-lived trees, many of your “normal,” run-of-the-mill trees outlive the average person by fifty to a hundred years. And this doesn’t even consider the extraordinary, ancient trees that live a thousand years or more—in fact, some of the oldest living organisms on earth are trees.

mighty-oakKnowing this, it makes sense that people throughout history have been drawn to the planting of trees to mark significant occasions in our lives, or to honor, celebrate, or remember a loved one. Some people choose to plant a tree for each of their children— a great excuse to collect a few photographic memories of each child next to his or her tree, comparing their changing heights through the years. Some plant a tree in honor of building or moving into a new home. Another wonderful idea that’s gained popularity recently is a wedding unity tree ceremony, whereby the bride and groom combine the soil from each of their homes into the pot of a single tree, a noble Douglasfir, perhaps, then plant it in their new home in honor of their marriage. What a great symbol for a couple’s growing love. Still others find trees they plant to be the perfect lasting, living memorial to someone they have lost. In honor of a parent who has passed away, one might plant an oak tree where, when it becomes older, they might visit to sit peacefully in its shade and feel connected to their loved one. After losing a pet that was part of the family for many years, a dogwood could be a beautiful reminder of the beloved playmate and companion every time one sees its flowers.

Beautiful Flowerind TreeMany of our members and those who have bought trees from our nursery have shared such stories with us, and it inspires us to see how meaningful a tree can be to someone in celebrating life. Below we’ve included a few that tugged on our heartstrings.

“The look on my little great-nephew’s face when we planted, and watched grow, my first free 10 trees one spring, was priceless. Happy to say, just as you promised, that all 10 trees are growing, strong and healthy. My nephew told me that after my passing, he will come back and sit under these trees and reflect on our relationship as friends, and fellow lovers of nature. My dad did this for me also–he received these trees from Arbor Day and planted a spruce for me. To this day, so many years later, I feed the wild birds with a half dozen feeders hanging from this tree’s limbs. As I watch the birds and look at the now big spruce, I think of my Dad and our times in nature, through this spruce we are always together. ” –Member Kevin Warriner

“When my first daughter was born…we really wanted to plant a tree in celebration of our daughter’s birth. We ordered a Weeping Willow. The young tree grew vigorously and very soon was taller than Sara and not long thereafter, taller than us. Our extended family would come for visits and comment on how quickly Sara’s tree was growing. We too have been truly impressed with its development. We recently celebrated Sara’s sixth birthday. It was a warm September day, particularly in the sun. We quickly decided (having originally placed our picnic table in the middle of the yard) to move it under Sara’s tree, retreating from the hot sun. We all expressed our amazement that we were all able to celebrate Sara’s birthday under a tree that was planted as a whip the same year she was born!” – Member Scott Davis

“…My father and mother, when she was living, used to love to watch the squirrels climb their Baldcypress tree…. I decided that I would like to plant one of my Baldcypress trees on the grounds near where she is buried. It is nearly seven feet tall now. My father has visited me a few times in the past few years and was surprised and very happy to see that I had planted the bald cypress near their final resting place.” – Member William R. Thorne

“When my husband and I thawed the top layer of our wedding cake for our first anniversary, we were disappointed that it was inedible. Not wanting to just throw it away, we decided to bury it with much ceremony, in our back yard beneath our cherry tree. Now each year I SWEAR the white blooms smell like cherry…and vanilla! Eleven years and counting!” –Facebook fan Mary Croslin Wright

We understand, however, that sometimes planting a tree where you live isn’t always possible. Luckily, an alternative exists to plant trees in a forest in need. With our Trees in Memory, Trees in Celebration and Trees for Pets programs, our members are planting trees in honor of people and animals they love.

Have you ever planted a tree in memory or celebration of a loved one or to commemorate a special time in your life? We would love you to share your story in the comments.

Treating Trees: Good Advice from a Girl Scout

Here at the Arbor Day Foundation, we have members, advocates, and supporters from all walks of life, representing all corners of the globe, and encompassing all ages.

In part, that’s because the good work of planting and caring for trees spans all boundaries – physical, geographical, socio-economic, and many others.

And we love hearing from these advocates. They’re caring, passionate people who lead interesting lives and who have wonderful stories to tell.

This week, our Member Services team received an email from a young lady in Newark, New Jersey, named Victoria Ribeiro.

Girl ScoutsVictoria is a high school-aged girl scout who is working on earning a Gold Award, the highest award given by the Girl Scouts of America. All Gold Award projects must begin with identifying an issue about which the scout is passionate and end with educating and inspiring others on the topic.

Clearly, Victoria is passionate about trees, and we can honestly say we were inspired by her work. Her Gold Award project, an educational PowerPoint presentation entitled Treating Trees, “…seeks to educate the residents of the city of Newark so that they will be able to identify hazardous trees.”

A scene from a Newark, New Jersey, neighborhood following Hurricane Sandy. Ribeiro's presentation seeks to inform people of what to do with hazardous trees in their neighborhoods.

A scene from a Newark, New Jersey, neighborhood following Hurricane Sandy. Ribeiro’s presentation seeks to inform people of what to do with hazardous trees in their neighborhoods.

Victoria’s email continued: “I must make my project have a global/national impact. I looked at your website and saw that [the Arbor Day Foundation] didn’t really have any program that the residents of a city could help identify trees and make his/her community a better place to live. I am emailing you in the hopes that you may possibly create a program similar to mine to make other neighborhoods a safer and better place to live.”

Victoria, we commend you on your excellent presentation and how you’re helping to educate your fellow citizens on trees and tree care. We’re proud to share your work with others who can learn from it for greener, healthier neighborhoods — in Newark and beyond.

Thank you for sharing your passion for trees, and we wish you much succes on your way to earning the Gold Award.

Download your own copy of Victoria’s Treating Trees presentation.

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What to do about Wildfires: Prevention vs. Combat

As the 2013 fire season continues, the costs of fighting wildfires have continued to increase. In 2012, fires consumed 40 percent of the Forest Service’s annual budget, compared to only 13 percent in 1991. Many factors have created these rising costs through the years, including worsened drought conditions, continued climate change, and an increased number of homes built near forested areas. These escalating expenses are proving to be so costly, that they are leaving less money for wildfire prevention.

 

Forest Fires

Drought conditions, climate change, and homes in traditionally forested areas have all contributed to the rising costs of fighting wildfires.

Due to these heightened factors, for fiscal 2014, the federal administration has proposed drastic spending cuts to hazardous fuels reduction, or clearing smaller trees and underbrush through controlled cutting and burns. The idea behind hazardous fuels reduction is that by removing this underbrush, fires will have less fuel to spread rapidly and can then be controlled faster. Donald Smurthwaite, spokesman for the National Interagency Fire Center states, “In a recent study by the Bureau of Land Management, when wildfires burned into fuels treatment areas, they were slowed or stopped about 90 percent of the time. With the decline in fuels funding, we’re worried that saving money today will mean larger and more destructive fires tomorrow.” Limited funding has decreased fire prevention for several years. In 2009, 4.5 million acres were treated to prevent wildfires, and under the proposed budgetary cuts, fewer than 2 million acres would be treated in 2014.While the proposed budget for fiscal 2014 would increase overall funding for wildfires, it would largely cut the hazardous fuels budgets for several agencies. In all, 41 percent of these budgets would fall, reducing the current funds of $502 million to $297 million.  This will be the third consecutive year the administration’s proposed budget includes spending cuts to forest treatment to prevent wildfires. Many of these cuts will greatly affect our tree partners — the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.

As an organization of people that cares deeply about our nation’s forests and trees, the Arbor Day Foundation continues to challenge ourselves to better understand how to collaborate with our partners on the ground as they overcome these budgetary hurdles.  There simply isn’t funding available as there has been in decades past, and that is where our valued members, supporters, corporate donors and partners can help us to heighten our efforts to do more with less. They can help us to see new ways to partner with these groups, to create even more relevant programs, and to provide trees to those areas most in need. As we address each new challenge, we search for ways to better engage our loyal members and tree advocates to keep them involved in the good work our partners accomplish each year with our support.

With the help and generosity of our vast network of tree advocates, we will continue to foster our enduring 25-year partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. With their help, the Arbor Day Foundation will continue to bring new ideas surrounding education, conservation, and tree planting in wildfire-stricken areas.

Two ways you can take action now:
The Backyard Woods Program: Managing Forests Can Save Forests
Donate now to replant trees where they’re needed most

Data cited in this post sourced from NBC News.
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Abbie Eisenhart is a Community Tree Recovery Manager for the Arbor Day Foundation.

Project Blue River Rescue: Improving Kansas City’s Waterways

Every year for the past 20 years, hundreds of volunteers and city workers in metropolitan Kansas City come together in an effort known as Project Blue River Rescue. Their goal: to clean up piles of trash and illegal dumping out of the Blue River which flows through their city.

Blue River Rescue 2013

Kansas City-area boy scouts take to the Blue River to haul out debris as part of the Project Blue River Rescue 2013. Photo: PBRR Facebook.

Partnering with the Kansas City Public Works, the Missouri Department of Conservation and several local businesses and organizations, Project Blue River Rescue has grown to be Missouri’s largest, one-day conservation cleanup.

“Each year, volunteers have cleaned up thousands of pounds of trash, tires, appliances and even cars,” says Wendy Sangster, Urban Forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Blue River Rescue 2013

Volunteers remove several bags of trash and nuisance honeysuckle from the banks of the Blue River in metro Kansas City, as part of the Project Blue River Rescue 2013. Photo: PBRR Facebook.

More recently, Project Blue River Rescue has also focused on habitat restoration along the river. In April 2013, a group of 20 volunteers organized by the Heartland Tree Alliance, a branch of Bridging the Gap, planted 500 tree seedlings along the Blue River near a baseball complex in southern Kansas City. The seedlings included native species — burr oak, sycamore, pecan and shellbark hickory — all which would have normally grown along the Blue River. Volunteers also worked to remove invasive honeysuckle plants along the waterway to ensure the growth of these new seedlings.

Sangster firmly believes in the longevity of this project and the positive impact it has on the local community. By getting community members involved in the planting, she feels it instills a connection to nature and provides a foundation for advancing environmental stewardship in the greater Kansas City area.

“If a volunteer can do the physical, hard work of planting a tree,” Sangster says, “they are more likely to become ambassadors and tree stewards in their own communities.”
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Mary Sweeney is a program manager at the Arbor Day Foundation.

 

Oregon Department of Forestry: Trees benefit business districts

State foresters often have their hands full with managing public woodlands miles away from the nearest home or business. But it’s becoming more common to hear them tout the numerous benefits of urban forestry, whether they work directly with cities or not.

Downtown-EugeneCynthia Orlando, a certified arborist with the Oregon Department of Forestry, makes the case for urban forestry in general and the pluses to commercial areas in particular in an op-ed in the Statesman Journal.

The research points to substantial long-term gains in commercial areas with ample street trees. U.S. Forest Service studies have found $2.70 in benefits for every $1 invested in city trees, and Orlando also points to University of Washington research showing increased foot-traffic in tree-lined commercial areas.

There’s also the qualitative element. What kind of attributes are people looking for in a business district? Orlando writes:

Healthy trees send positive messages about the appeal of a district, the quality of products there and what customer service a shopper can expect — they’re an important component of any program to attract shoppers and visitors

Portland received well-deserved attention for its growing tree canopy, but many of Oregon’s smaller cities have exciting programs as well. Oregon State University in Corvalis is the first and only Tree Campus USA in the state. Salem and Eugene (pictured above) are both drawing new housing and business to their forested downtown.

Find out more about urban and community forestry in Oregon here.

Photo courtesy of Oregon Attractions