As the month of March begins, the spring season is directly upon the horizon. Spring means blooming flowers, longer and warmer days, and of course, tree plantings and distributions. While all tree plantings and distributions are important, the communities involved in the Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Tree Recovery program view their new trees as a way to heal from the devastation they’ve faced.
The Community Tree Recovery program focuses on getting trees back to residents who have persevered, following destructive natural disasters in their cities and towns. These disasters not only take their homes and businesses, but often destroy much of the urban tree canopy residents have grown up with all around them. The trees provided help to deliver an important piece of the long-term recovery puzzle to these affected areas.
This year, residents in 13 states and more than 100 communities will receive trees through this program. No two disasters are the same, and that means every tree distribution and planting is unique to each community involved. The Community Tree Recovery campaigns this year, span a wide range of sizes and scopes. From November 2015 through February 2016, approximately 820,000 loblolly pine trees were planted in Bastrop, TX following a devastating wildfire. This large-scale effort can be contrasted with a campaign in New York, where 1,000 trees will be distributed in May, to the residents of Rochester following the destructive infestation of Emerald Ash Borer. No matter the size of the affected area or the number of trees involved, each of these campaigns is vital to the long-term recovery of those who live there.
The joy and gratitude that community members express when they receive trees through this program, is amazing. Residents seem to fully realize how meaningful those trees were, once they are gone. Providing these communities with trees that are planted for the next generation, is a truly moving experience. And we are happy that we can help guide this piece of the recovery process for those who need it most.
The full list of states included in the Community Tree Recovery program in 2016 include: Alaska; Arkansas; Colorado; Kentucky; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; New Jersey; New York; Oklahoma; Texas and Washington. For more information on each campaign please visit the Community Tree Recovery page.
If you live in a community that lost many trees following a natural disaster, and want to see how your state could be involved, please contact the Community Tree Recovery Program Manager, Abbie Eisenhart, at firstname.lastname@example.org.