(CLEVELAND) – Holden Forests & Gardens (HF&G) has received a generous $200,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation to support People for Trees™, a public awareness initiative that encourages and empowers residents in communities across Northeast Ohio to plant and care for a tree, beginning with making a pledge. The aim is to have 15,000 new trees planted by 2025.
“Holden Forests & Gardens has nearly a century of expertise in caring for plants and trees,” said Jill Koski, president and CEO of Holden Forest & Gardens. “People for Trees leverages our unique role in the community by sharing knowledge, providing free educational opportunities, and encouraging people to grow their love and appreciation of trees. In caring for trees together, we can each play a critical role to ensure that there is equitable access to green space for all people, especially those communities in greatest need.”
Since launching the campaign earlier this month, 615 people have pledged to plant more than 1,500 trees. In total, HF&G is on track to plant more than 3,000 trees in Northeast Ohio this year between pledges and plantings with several partner organizations.
“Tree canopy decline impacts our entire region but is most acute in Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) neighborhoods,” said Stephen Love, program manager for environmental initiatives at the Cleveland Foundation. “The Cleveland Foundation is encouraged that People for Trees will deepen HF&G’s community partnerships to support tree plantings, stewardship, and public awareness efforts in neighborhoods experiencing the greatest canopy loss.”
Although the region has made progress in the past five years, according to the Cleveland Tree Plan 2020 Tree Canopy Progress Report compiled by the Cleveland Tree Coalition, tree canopy cover continues to decline. It is imperative to act now to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change and other factors on the health of urban, suburban, and rural forests.
Forested land and tree canopy are declining across Northeast Ohio:
- In rural areas of Ohio from 2013-2018, the area of forest land decreased by 300,000 acres and live trees decreased by three million.
- In Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, tree canopy declined by five percent and six percent, respectively, from 2011 to 2017.
You can make your pledge to plant a tree at holdenfg.org/people-for-trees. HF&G will support each pledge with easy-to-follow instructional toolkits, guidance on how to select the most appropriate tree and where to purchase it, free virtual classes, and other ongoing support. To learn more, visit holdenfg.org.
About the Cleveland Foundation
Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation – and one of the largest today – with assets of $2.7 billion and 2020 grants of more than $130 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation’s program areas include arts and culture, economic and workforce development, education, environment, leadership development, neighborhoods, and youth, health and human services. For more information, visit www.clevelandfoundation.org.
About Holden Forests & Gardens
Holden Forests & Gardens is made up of two of Northeast Ohio’s most important environmental and cultural institutions — the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden — whose mission is to connect people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities. The 14th largest public garden in the country, Holden Forests & Gardens has nearly 17,000 member households and an annual attendance of 350,000 for whom we strive to provide inspirational and educational visitor experiences. For more information, visit holdenfg.org.