Sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation
Ft. Wayne, Ind. (October 16, 2007)- Funding cuts in Fort Wayne Community Schools have alleviated enrichment classes, further diminishing opportunities for students to explore the outdoors. Children are becoming separated from daily experience of the natural world and are being thrust into today’s “wired world.” Planting trees in one’s own urban community and experiencing the richness of nature plants hope for the citizens of underserved neighborhoods, and gives them a personal sense of accomplishment. Healthy, working forests are vital for livable communities.
NeighborWoods’ Ultimate Journey is a year-round project that targets underserved youth, ages 6-12, to participate in the TreeKeeper youth corps, an urban forestry service-learning experience. The project is designed to provide a safe, supportive atmosphere for inner city youth to experience hands-on urban forestry education and to take action in revitalization efforts in their neighborhoods and area parks. Aligned with The Home Depot’s commitment to volunteerism and community revitalization, this investment promotes education, volunteerism, and stewardship.
These efforts will go a long way towards providing opportunities for Boys & Girls Club youth to make a lasting connection with nature and revitalize areas of Ft. Wayne that need extra attention. The natural world is the foundation of sustainable community development, and without continuous hands-on experiences it is impossible for children to obtain a deep understanding of such. For many of these children, these opportunities are their first experience in woods.
On October 20, NeighborWoods TreeKeepers will plant 5 native 1.5- 2″ caliper trees at the Tillman Road greenway stretch. These trees will be planted in honor of Ernie Williams, founder of the greenway system in Fort Wayne, near his memorial. This event is in partnership with The Greenway Consortium. TreeKeepers, now in its second year, has expanded from one site to three.
“Having local organizations like Trees Indiana participate in National NeighborWoods Month helps us show the cumulative effect of a burgeoning urban and community forestry movement,” said ACT Executive Director Alice Ewen Walker. Founded in 1993, the Alliance for Community Trees is a national coalition of 140 nonprofit organizations engaged in urban and community forestry in 39 states and Canada. Its members are dedicated to grassroots community greening, public education, policymaking, job training, urban design, and other initiatives that support better awareness of the connections between trees and people.
NeighborWoods Month is sponsored through a generous grant from The Home Depot Foundation. “National NeighborWoods Month offers a unique opportunity for people to understand the contributions of trees to the health, beauty and livability of their communities,” said Kelly Caffarelli, Vice President of The Home Depot Foundation. “By partnering with ACT and local NeighborWoods organizations like Trees Indiana, The Foundation is able to further its goals of investing in the overall health and success of our communities.”
About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation was created in 2002 to further the community building goals of The Home Depot by providing additional resources to assist nonprofit organizations building affordable, efficient, and healthy homes throughout the United States and Canada. The Home Depot Foundation is dedicated to creating healthy, livable communities through the integration of affordable housing built responsibly and the preservation and restoration of community trees. Since its formation, The Home Depot Foundation has granted more than $50 million to nonprofit and government organizations throughout North America. In 2006 alone, projects supported by the foundation built 9,000 units of housing and planted 300,000 trees. For more information, visit www.homedepotfoundation.org.
More information at: http://calendar.neighborwoodsmonth.org or www.treesindiana.org
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Download Trees Indiana’s NeighborWoods Month press release.