Sat 4/22 @ 8AM
Come join in the impactful fun of reforesting our city with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the Boys and Girls Club as they host a tree-planting extravaganza in the Slavic Village neighborhood on Earth Day, Sat 4/22 @ 8am-1pm.
Collectively known as the Cleveland Tree Coalition, this collaborative group of more than 30 public, private and community stakeholders have partnered with the City of Cleveland to replant the city’s urban forest. The coalition is striving to create a healthy, vibrant, sustainable and equitable urban forest by working collaboratively to implement the Cleveland Tree Plan.
“According to the Cleveland Tree Plan, tree canopy cover in the Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood is just 18%,” explains Emily Bacha, director of communications and marketing with Western Reserve Land Conservancy. “Seeing the need for more trees, a number of partners came together to launch the Reforesting Slavic Village initiative.” (See partners list below.)
A community-wide collaboration, the Cleveland Tree Plan’s goal is to replant the urban forest through partnership. The Plan has three overarching goals: (1) recognize trees as critical community infrastructure, (2) reverse the trend of tree canopy loss, and (3) foster capacity for full stewardship for the tree infrastructure. Different member organizations of the Cleveland Tree Coalition are tasked with leading various actions.
In a 2013 assessment of Cleveland’s urban forest, Cleveland was found to have just 19% average tree canopy cover across the city, which is significantly lower than both historic and ideal values. With this bleak information in hand, the group created the Cleveland Tree Plan, approved by the Cleveland Planning Commission in 2016. The creation of the Cleveland Tree Coalition is one of the first action steps to be realized from the plan.
“We also pay close attention to the right tree, right place guidelines in the Cleveland Tree Plan,” shares Emily. “The plan explains which species provide specific benefits including stormwater reduction, building energy reduction, overall air pollutant removal and more. Planting trees purposefully ensures that trees provide the greatest benefits to communities with the highest need.”
For example, if the Coalition were to plant a two-inch caliper Yellow Buckeye tree on a site in Slavic Village this year, the tree would provide $14 in benefits according to the National Tree Benefit Calculator. The tree would absorb 70 gallons of stormwater and conserve four kilowatt hours of electricity for cooling. As the tree grows, so do the benefits the tree provides. At a diameter of seven inches, the tree would provide an estimated $48 in annual benefits.
“Western Reserve Land Conservancy launched a program called Reforest our City in 2014 and has planted 3,500 trees since then, engaging hundreds of volunteers in this effort. The Western Reserve Land Conservancy typically plants robust trees that provide instant tree canopy and benefits to the community. As trees grow and are cared for properly, benefits will accrue over time,” Emily expounds.
A growing body of research and documentation validates the critical role that a robust urban tree canopy plays in providing an environment that contributes to residents’ health and economic well-being as well as helping to meet the many environmental and ecological challenges that impact their daily lives:
(1) Trees improve public health and safety. By improving air quality and reducing heat island effects of paving and buildings, trees have been proven to improve oxygen levels, reduce asthma and other respiratory issues and, reduce violence in neighborhoods as tree canopy increases.
(2) Trees add economic value to residential properties and businesses. Trees and landscaping around residential and business properties can cut summer energy costs for cooling by up to 50% and increases business traffic in commercial districts.
(3) Trees meet environmental challenges. Trees slow the flow and quantity of rainwater that enters storm drains and reduce the quantity of pollutants that enter our waterways. And the ability of trees to absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon helps combat the increasing impacts of a changing climate.
(4) Trees improve our natural world and its inhabitants. A larger tree canopy increases urban wildlife habitat for song birds, small mammals and pollinators. A healthy urban forest is a critical component of wildlife, air, water, soil and other conservation efforts.
All volunteers are welcome. No previous experience is necessary, but registering for the event is required. Volunteers under the age of 18 will need parental permission to participate. Register here or by calling 216-515-8300. Come prepared to work, with comfortable clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. You will be provided with a shirt, tools, gloves, coffee, water and lunch! Remember to bring your reusable water bottle and some sunscreen. The event will be happening rain or shine.
Partners include: AmeriCorps, ArcelorMittal, Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, Councilman Anthony Brancatelli, Broadway P-16, City of Cleveland Office of Sustainability, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Cleveland Central Catholic, Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Cuyahoga Community College, Holden Forests and Gardens, Metro Catholic, Slavic Village Development, Third Federal Foundation, Western Reserve Land Conservancy and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
[Written By Kendall Embrescia-Hridel]