Coalition Led by Friends of Trees Awarded $12M Community Forestry Grant
Friends of Trees | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information:
Friends of Trees: Yashar Vasef, Executive Director; [email protected]
Please contract coalition members for more information about their organization’s specific project role and activities (details below)
Portland, Ore. (9-14-23) — An 11-member coalition led by Friends of Trees was awarded a $12 million Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Inflation Reduction Act grants. The grant will fund the engagement of low canopy neighborhoods included in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 initiative, which will bring resources to communities most impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental hazards.
The partner coalition includes APANO, Black Parent Initiative, City of Gresham, City of Portland, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Connecting Canopies, Depave, POIC, Verde, and Wisdom of the Elders. The $12 million award will direct funds to these partners and Friends of Trees across five years. This is a partial award, as the original request was for $17.5 million, and the details of the award have not yet been provided.
The coalition’s proposal includes funding for community forestry work including tree planting, natural area restoration, post-planting care, community education, opportunities for direct community input and participation, and workforce training.
“This award is a validation of community tree planting as a model,” says Friends of Trees Executive Director Yashar Vasef. “Especially in the face of intensifying climate change, authentic community partnerships have a huge part to play in growing and maintaining our urban forests.”
The project includes:
- community tree planting (training and engaging volunteers) to plant up to 2,300 street and yard trees and 21,000 native shrubs in neighborhoods and natural areas, specifically in identified equity areas: East Multnomah County, West Eugene, and Springfield
- robust post-planting care, including watering, mulching, and natural area maintenance
- community education
- opportunities for direct community input and participation
- workforce training
In addition to community tree planting and tree care, thousands of additional trees and native shrubs will be planted and cared for by coalition partners through other methods.
“This project represents a tremendous investment in growing our community’s canopy,” Vasef says. “That means engaging the community in efforts to both plant and care for trees.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA’s Forest Service is awarding more than $1 billion in competitive grants to plant and maintain trees, combat extreme heat and climate change, and improve access to nature. Friends of Trees’ partner application is one of 385 proposals that were accepted across the nation.
In addition to affirming the effectiveness of the community tree planting model, this award demonstrates that policymakers are listening to the science. It’s widely accepted that trees play a vital role in combating climate change and providing public health benefits. A recent study using 14 years of Friends of Trees planting data associates neighborhood tree planting with fewer deaths.
“This isn’t just the coalition’s award, this is our communities’ award,” says Vasef. “This coalition represents a broad, diverse cross section of our communities, and these communities will be directly involved with, and will directly benefit from, this project.”
Friends of Trees (FriendsofTrees.org)
Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the natural world around them through a simple solution: Planting Trees. Together.
Friends of Trees was founded in 1989 by a local community member who loved trees and started planting them in neighborhoods. Today, Friends of Trees is a nationally recognized, regional leader in improving the urban tree canopy and restoring sensitive natural areas—through programs delivered by thousands of volunteers. Friends of Trees has planted 945,000+ trees and native plants in neighborhoods and natural areas in six counties across two states in the 35 years since its founding. Learn more about The Friends of Trees Way.
Please contract coalition members for more information about their organization’s specific project role and activities:
- APANO: Duncan Hwang, [email protected]
- The Black Parent Initiative: Leigh Bohannon, [email protected]
- Columbia Slough Watershed Council: Max Samuelson or Heather King, [email protected]; [email protected]
- Connecting Canopies: Theresa Huang or Derron Coles, [email protected]; [email protected]
- Depave: Katya Reyna, [email protected]
- City of Gresham: Tina Osterink or Sarah Cagann, [email protected]; [email protected]
- City of Portland: Mark Ross, [email protected]
- Rosemary Anderson High School/POIC: Leigh Rappaport, [email protected]
- Verde: Jasmine Co or Amandeep Sohi, [email protected], [email protected]
- Wisdom of the Elders: Adrienne Moat, [email protected]