Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign kicks off tree distribution in 16 tornado-damaged communities

Last Monday, the Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign kicked-off the distribution of thousands of trees for people impacted by the April 27 tornado that swept North Alabama.

The Campaign launch was held at the former location of Mike and Ed’s Barbecue in downtown Tuscaloosa, a site plainly and visibly damaged to this day.

Alabama First Lady Dianne Bentley and Mayor Walter Maddox headlined the event and were joined by Alabama Assistant State Forester Patrick Glass and the Arbor Day Foundation’s Dan Lambe. The Campaign was launched in June by the Arbor Day Foundation the Alabama Forestry Commission as a multi-year, large-scale initiative to restore North Alabama’s community trees to their pre-tornado strength.

Several local mayors and state legislators also showed up at the event to lend their support.

In all, 16 communities will receive 30,000 trees this month in the first phase of this campaign, and the distribution is already underway.

This past weekend, the Birmingham News reported that the Pleasant Grove Boy Scout troop is giving back to its community by helping to hand out 3,000 seedlings. And, the local newspaper in Cullman, Alabama, whose downtown absorbed enormous damage, published a moving editorial about the importance of restoring community forests.

“Throughout Cullman, residents have long been proud of the old trees that shaded yards and portions of the commercial district, which added to the beauty of the area,” the Cullman Times editorialized, adding:

Trees are one of the notable defining features in many communities. The presence of this natural beauty enhances neighborhoods, business areas and the general livability of the community. Bringing the pleasant beauty of trees back to the storm-ravaged areas will go a long way toward rebuilding the beauty and spirit of the community.

The editorial dovetails nicely with this CBS 42 report on how the new trees are making a real difference for Cullman families who are faced with a barren landscape and are looking forward to replacing what they have lost.

The Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign is just getting started, and we’ll keep coming back to distribute trees until North Alabama’s canopy is fully restored.

Help us out if you can by making a donation at arborday.org/Alabama.

Photo courtesy of the Alabama Forestry Commission.