Travelers will tell you that every community has a different atmosphere. Through the different landscapes, buildings, and faces, our lives are shaped by the environments in which we surround ourselves. That is why we believe that trees have the ability to have a positive impact on the people of each and every community. Trees provide a strong defense against storm damage for residents, reduce temperatures in severely heated areas, and can nourish a community by providing fresh fruit, nuts, and other nutritional foods. However, each area’s unique needs dictate a unique solution. Due to a decline in urban canopy, communities with low-income housing tend to be the most affected by floods and urban heat islands, and generally have limited access to essential goods, such as healthy food options. These problems are the direct cause of an even greater concern related to environmental and social inequities, which have profound impacts on the vitality of these neighborhoods. At the Tree Program Foundation, we see this as an extraordinary opportunity to work side-by-side with community members and organizations to work towards a common goal and to help make our communities better for all.
Local planting organizations like Tree Program have been an inspiration for us to work with, motivating us to meet residents where they are in order to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. These teams have done an amazing job of continuing to educate the public on the importance of urban community forestry, and each have their own unique stories to provide for the unique areas they live in.
"Our goal is to truly make sure trees become a meaningful part of a community because trees play a critical role in the health and well-being of the community."
The flourishing urban canopies that the Trees Program maintains can be seen as a symbol of commitment to growing a better future for the community as well as for their vibrant landscapes. One of their hallmark educational programs, Youth Tree Team, provides summer employment opportunities for local high schoolers who are interested in "green" collar career opportunities. The students help out with tree planting and environmental maintenance projects all over the city, and they also get to attend career-building workshops that provide job application and interview training, resume writing, personal financial literacy skills, and networking with other green-collar professionals. Additionally, the Trees Program has worked hard to address environmental issues stemming from civil inequalities and celebrates those who strive to make the world a better place for all. In February, 300 trees were planted in Atlanta’s Freedom Park. In partnership with the Freedom Park Conservancy and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights "It’s a great example of community collaboration at every stage of the project. We believe that by improving access, quantity, and quality of urban trees, we can help address environmental, community health, and other social challenges for all people within our communities."