Jerry and Charlotte lived in their house for 39 years and watched as all but one of the trees they had planted and nurtured were destroyed.
“I felt sick to my stomach to see no trees. That’s what this town was built on, and that’s what I miss—the trees,” Charlotte told Arbor Day Foundation staff at a tree distribution event.
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August of 2005, our members asked how the Arbor Day Foundation was planning to help. So many trees were needed to replace those lost in the hurricane, and we worked diligently to help get tens of thousands of those replaced. Those trees led to what the Community Tree Recovery program would become years later, when devastating tornados hit Alabama and Missouri in 2011.
Six years later, the Community Tree Recovery program continues to grow and expand. As of today, the program has planted or distributed more than 4.6 million trees to homeowners and communities affected by natural disasters.
In the fall of 2016, and spring of 2017, more than 800,000 trees found new homes across the United States, and beyond. Depending on the needs of the community affected, tree sizes ranged from bare-root seedlings, to #3 (3-gallon) containerized stock. Fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the invasive species of Emerald Ash Borer, were all culprits of tree loss to communities large and small.
This year the Community Tree Recovery program helped with tree recovery needs in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington. These campaigns provided 807,984 trees, with more than 50 tree species, in 150 unique tree distributions and/or planting events. The combined efforts in these states have helped jump-start the environmental recovery the affected areas so desperately need.
Check out how much savings these trees will save over the next 40 years:
|Cooling (kWh) $||$256,498,324.53|
|Heating (kBtu) $||
|Net Energy (kBtu) $||$344,917,071.33|
|Net Co2 (tons)||3,686,783.73|
This spring also marked the first opportunity for the program to help people outside of the United States. Our first international Community Tree Recovery campaign was completed this year in Haiti, following Hurricane Matthew. Five thousand trees including avocado, mango, lime, and other trees, were distributed to farmers in the Grande Colline area. These new trees not only provide environmental benefits, but they are also a source of food and income to these Haitian residents. As the program grows internationally, we hope to help many other countries outside of the U.S. revive their tree canopies after disasters strike.
If your community or state have been affected by a disaster, and you would like more information about the program please visit arborday.org/programs. Read inspiring stories from the people who this program has truly helped, and see how you can get involved.