Our education and outreach activities are critical for achieving our goal to inspire regional change in conservation and urban land management. Here are a few of our core programs:
Urban tree plantings
The city of Cleveland has goals to increase tree canopy from 18 to 30% by 2040. A major focus is on historically red lined neighborhoods with the lowest canopy cover rates in the city- increasing canopy here could provide environmental benefits to these underserved communities. The community forestry team’s urban forester is helping the city meet this goal.
In 2021-2022, Holden led or supported 24 tree planting events in Cuyahoga County working with 15 different partners including The Cleveland Tree Coalition, Burten Bell Carr CDC, Midtown CDC, and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. With these partnerships, we planted 545 trees- and will continue to care for many of these trees at least 3 years after planting. These events were funded primarily though Healthy Urban Tree Canopy (HUTC) grants provided by Cuyahoga County.
We also conduct outreach programs to teach tree planting and care and distribute trees for planting- in 2021 & 2022, we gave away 1,069 trees at 13 different events. As part of these efforts, Holden is part of a team of community organizations propagating and re-planting 4 Jesse Owens oaks. These new seedlings are grafted from an oak tree given to Cleveland native Jesse Owens after winning gold medals in the 1936 Olympics. The oaks symbolize the racism that Jesse Owens struggled against- keeping this tree alive is important to our community history.
Holden researchers in Dr. David Burke’s lab are trialing inoculations of healthy forest soil fungi in these urban plantings to see if it improves tree survival.
Training the next generation
Participants in our Tree Corps program learn tree care from nursery to maturity, and learn how to engage partners and develop a career in arboriculture. Our 23 graduates to date have come from all walks of life, from new to the workforce to those looking for a career change. Our goal is to engage people in caring for trees and provide them the tools to do so. We also host summer interns each year, as well as a year-round AmeriCorps member since 2021. Participants engage in hands-on projects in our natural areas and beyond, including ecosystem restoration, wildlife conservation, urban tree care, rare plant monitoring, natural areas management, and more.
Want more information on our Urban Forestry program?
Contact Amanda Wood, Urban Community Forester at [email protected]