By Isaiah Montoya
Albuquerque, NM (October 14, 2009)- In the last decade the Sawmill Community Land Trust, has been transforming vacant property in the neighborhood north of downtown Albuquerque into a livable community, and the next step is trees. On October 29, Tree New Mexico will give 300 trees to The Greater Albuquerque Housing Authority, Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity and The Sawmill Land Trust, south of 1-40 between Rio Grande and Second Street. The public is invited.
“It is primarily an industrial area but there are pockets of houses in the area,” said TNM Executive Director Suzanne Probart. “One of our main goals is to fill low-income neighborhoods with trees. The Sawmill area qualifies. We’re bringing in $10,000 worth of free trees in.” Sawmill Community Land Trust Executive Director Connie Chavez said there is still room for much more improvement in the area before the goal of redevelopment is fully realized.
“In 2007 we collaborated with Home Depot to install a new playground in the community, and we are so happy to be TNM’s chosen recipient for these trees,” said Chavez.
Volunteers will help TNM zone and plant indigenous trees and then help educate the community. “We aim to educate the public about the benefits of trees and the importance of planting trees acquired from seeds of only local tree types.”
Tree New Mexico (TNM) is a non-profit organization that has initiated tree maximization and reforestation throughout New Mexico since 1990.
Tree New Mexico formed out of concern for the environment by 18 local high school students and several adults on the premise that tree planting is an important and worthwhile effort and goal.
Probart said, “We probably do our best work in neighborhoods, although we have repaired burned forests in state parks. Trees beautify and literally lower crime rates. Through planting trees in communities and schools is where you see how the simple act of planting a tree can change someone’s outlook on life,” said Probart. “Planting yard, park, and street trees helps improve the livability of neighborhoods and increases property values, while the greatest benefit of neighborhood plantings is the strengthening of the community that happens when people work together to improve their neighborhood,” she said.
TNM initially took it upon itself to acquire trees from various agencies to replant in needful areas. “Donated trees allowed me to let go of my other business I owned to focus on this full-time,” she said. “It was as if a cosmic consciousness pierced through all other life problems. It was a phenomenon that started in 1990.” Nation-wide, 33 of the 35 federally recognized urban forestry programs, ‘phenomenally’ initiated in 1990. Utilizing over 3,000 volunteers, TNM has now planted one million trees.
South Broadway resident Juan Delgado said his neighborhood also needs more trees. “There are lots of apartments around here, lots of people, but not too many trees,” he said. “It would be a nicer place to live if we had more trees. They all died. We can’t afford new ones.”
Volunteers to plant 300 trees in Sawmill Community
Tree New Mexico