Healthy Communities Sprout from Healthy Urban Forests

by Mark Cassini on May 14, 2020

If you ever road trip across the country, you’ll notice that one of the most striking features that make a town stand out is its trees. Trees form the fabric of communities across America. The beautiful trees that line our streets and shade our parks don’t just come to be. One of the greatest forces in helping to grow and maintain community forests are those that are part of Time for tree.

Community Greening is dedicated to planting and caring for trees. It often holds tree planting events that connect local officials with residents and private companies and businesses. It mobilizes people to rally behind trees, and for good reason.

Community trees are a critical element of urban life. They provide environmental, economic, and health benefits to communities. But the combination of urbanization and a changing climate has put community forests at risk.

That’s why being part of a bigger initiative, to plant trees around the globe, is important now more than ever. We are proud to be part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees initiative to plant 100 million trees and inspire 5 million tree planters by 2022. Community Greening has been planting trees since 2016, and now, we’re taking our work further. We are excited to join hundreds of organizations across the country that share our values for a healthy, community forest.

People are starting to understand and appreciate the value of urban trees. In fact, according to a NeighborWoods Month survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 92 percent of Americans recognize the personal benefits of planting trees in communities.

Trees clean the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants. A single mature tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and release enough oxygen to support two people each year (McAliney, 1993). Many cities are turning to nature as a means for clean water, opting to invest in tree planting in watersheds instead of additional water treatment. The Journal of Arboriculture reports that Urban forests are better than traditional flood control systems at protecting water quality, especially during small storm events. Additionally, trees keep communities cool through transpiration, helping to reduce the urban heat island effect. These are just a few of the ways urban trees help communities.

But they aren’t just a critical part of green infrastructure, they are important to creating healthier and happier communities. A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reports that access to green spaces helps reduce depression. For every 1 percent increase in green space, there is a corresponding and steeper decline in people’s stress levels. In addition, a survey in the British Medical Journal reports that residents living near high levels of greenery are three times more likely to be physically active.

Greener neighborhoods encourage social bonding between neighbors. According to a NeighborWoods Month survey by Wakefield Research, seventy-three percent of Americans are interested in volunteering to plant or care for trees in their community.

We are excited to join this global movement for healthier, greener communities. We couldn’t do what we do without the help of volunteers and the support of the community.

To find out more about our upcoming events and volunteers opportunities please follow us on facebook @communitygreening twitter @comm_greening and Instagram  @communitygreening