Record Results for the 10th Anniversary of National NeighborWoods® Month
Washington, DC (November 17, 2014) – A record number of volunteers—31,000—joined over 400 local greening organizations to plant and care for trees during October’s National NeighborWoods® Month. Overall, 55,000 new trees were planted and another 15,000 received maintenance at 1,000 events in all 50 states and Canada.
“Local residents value the many benefits of trees in their communities. That’s why they engaged in record numbers to be part of this special 10th anniversary of National NeighborWoods® Month,” says Carrie Gallagher, executive director of Alliance for Community Trees, the national non-profit that coordinates the award-winning National NeighborWoods® Month program.
With well over 80% of Americans living in urban areas, and the United Nations projecting a 72% increase in global urban living by 2050, it’s imperative that cities look to trees and their environmental and health benefits. “Trees planted and cared for during NeighborWoods® will improve public health, reduce energy costs, and lessen stormwater runoff,” says Gallagher. “Plus, trees in our cities are a big stress buster.”
Each year, the 55,000 trees planted during National NeighborWoods® Month 2014 are estimated to:
- capture 24.5 million gallons of storm water runoff,
- dispose of over 700 tons of air pollutants, and
- save cities nearly $600,000 in storm water management and air pollution costs.
National NeighborWoods® Month is a coast-to-coast action campaign for trees in communities organized by Alliance for Community Trees and sponsored this year by the U.S. Forest Service, Boise Project UP, and CSX.
Each participating event received a free NeighborWoods® box that included tools, coupons, and promotional materials to help communities plant and care for trees. Event planning kits and media engagement guides were also available online at wwwNeighborWoodsMonth.org.
In 2014, National NeighborWoods® Month saw a 10% increase in trees planted from the previous year thanks to the efforts of 405 local nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and other partners in nearly 400 communities. Here’s a sampling of what took place across the country:
- Trees Forever in Marion, Iowa, worked with volunteers and the Washington Park District in central Illinois to plant a diverse species of 40 trees in two parks that were devastated by 2013 tornadoes.
- Asheville GreenWorks, volunteers, and community partners in Asheville, NC, transformed what was an illegal dumping ground for trash into an urban orchard for neighbors to enjoy. The new shade and nourishing fruit trees were the result of a partnership among Urban Orchard Cider Company, AmeriCorps, Asheville GreenWorks, and the West Asheville Business Association.
- In Ferguson, MO, Forest ReLeaf, in partnership with the St. Louis Board of Alderman and other local groups, organized one of the largest honorary tree plantings, putting over 500 trees in the ground to “Plant for Peace.” The native species trees were planted throughout the area to bring healing and comradery to the community.
This year, Americans contributed 93,000 volunteer hours during National NeighborWoods® Month, a value of well over $2 million. “Trees inspire people to get involved in their communities,” says Gallagher. “The number of NeighborWoods® events and volunteers this year were all-time highs. Citizens clearly understand the great benefits that trees offer–on community streets and as part of the larger environment.”
About Alliance for Community Trees
Alliance for Community Trees is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving the health and livability of cities by planting and caring for trees. ACTrees engages volunteers to take action to improve the environment where over 90% of people live: in cities, towns, and metropolitan areas. ACTrees member organizations have planted over 15 million trees nationwide with help from over 5 million volunteers. Learn more about ACTrees and its member organizations at www.ACTrees.org and follow us on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram @alliance4trees.