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Holden Forests & Gardens Launches People for Trees

Wed., Apr. 21, 2021

Aim is to have 15,000 trees planted and cared for by 2025 throughout Northeast Ohio

One of the most significant things we can do to combat the effects of a changing climate right here in Northeast Ohio is to plant a tree. Today, Holden Forests & Gardens (HF&G) is launching a new initiative called People for Trees™ to make it easier for each of us to get involved with this solution.

“We are inviting every member of our community to take notice of the trees around us, grow in our appreciation and love of trees, and make a pledge to plant a tree in your yard, at your business, or in your neighborhood,” said Jill Koski, president and CEO of Holden Forests & Gardens.

Make your pledge at holdenfg.org/people-for-trees and you will become a part of the regional movement to reverse the trend of tree loss in Northeast Ohio. After you pledge, you will receive information about:

  • Which trees are best to plant in Northeast Ohio
  • Where to purchase your tree
  • When and how to plant your tree
  • Tips for caring for your tree as it’s growing

For those who want to donate to have a tree planted, you can make a contribution that will support planting a tree in a neighborhood in Cleveland.

“Our arborists, scientists, community foresters, horticulturists and educators work onsite at the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden, and in our community to grow and care for trees each year; but we can only plant so many,” said Koski. “We realized, that to truly make a difference, we would need to join with and empower community members to plant and care for their own trees. Only together, can we really make a marked improvement on the region’s tree canopy.”

HF&G has nearly a century of expertise in plants and trees in Northeast Ohio and beyond. Dr. David Burke, vice president of science and conservation, and his team of scientists are making acclaimed discoveries about soil health and invasive pests – most recently discovering the nematode that is killing the American Beech tree. Their work has been cited in The Journal of ForestryScience Magazine and The Washington Post to name a few. Courtney Blashka, director of community forestry, has launched the Working Woods and Tree Corps initiatives to demonstrate healthy tree and forest management practices. People for Trees will provide a platform for the science and conservation teams to share more of their learning and cutting-edge discoveries with the local community.

“When it comes to making a meaningful contribution to countering the effects of climate change, it is best to start right where we are in our backyards, in our communities,” said Dr. David Burke, vice president of science and conservation at Holden Forests & Gardens. “Planting and caring for a tree that uses the energy of sunlight and the process of photosynthesis to take carbon dioxide from the air and also helps soil to capture it, is one of the most powerful things each of us can do.”

According to the Cleveland Tree Plan 2020 Tree Canopy Progress Report produced by the Cleveland Tree Coalition (CTC), of which HF&G is an active member, the tree canopy continues to decline, and climate change will have the greatest effect on communities that already have the greatest need. Forested land and tree canopy are declining in both rural and urban areas:

  • In rural areas from 2013-2018, the area of forest land decreased by 300,000 acres and live trees decreased by three million.
  • In Cleveland, tree canopy declined by five percent from 2011 to 2017.

Holden Forests & Garden’s Director of Community Partnerships Sandra Albro was a co-chair of the CTC for the past four years and is looking forward to focusing more exclusively on encouraging individuals and families to learn more about trees and to get involved in planting and caring for them through the People for Trees initiative.

“Contributing to the tree canopy loss solution can feel daunting. People for Trees is designed to make it easier for each one of us to do our part,” said Albro. “It is imperative that we act now to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change and other factors on the health of our urban and rural forests.”

For more information, and to make your tree planting pledge today, visit holdenfg.org.

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