This past month the VPA participated in a Super Bowl program to plant trees in Phoenix and the shade tree manager, Aimee Williamson, and VPA’s executive director, Jennifer Bonnet, appeared in this KJZZ article that discusses the City of Phoenix’s urban forestry goals to provide 25 percent shade coverage by 2030 and to educate the public about the many benefits of trees. The city’s forestry supervisor and VPA board member, Richard Adkins, says Phoenix is currently at 9-12% and that most the land is beyond the city’s control as it is private property. He points out the need, therefore, to educate landowners about the importance of planting trees—benefits such as energy cost savings, carbon sequestration, increases in property value, and overall community welfare.
In the article Aimee explains that the VPA’s Shade Tree program is particularly aimed at residential single-family households, providing free trees for the city’s large section of private property as well as educating the community about tree care. The Shade Tree program specifically uses desert-adapted trees which require less water and work best in Arizona’s soil. During tree workshops, which is part of the process to receive free trees, our certified Arborists explain the ways to properly plant and care for the trees. *Pictured left is one of our Arborists showing volunteers how to plant a tree during a community event.
The Shade Tree Program also works to educate the public about the importance of tree planting, whether it be a blog posting like the one we wrote on environmentalist Lester Brown and his efforts to increase awareness about the benefits of planting trees, or by participating in programs that teach children about tree planting such as Valley View Elementary School’s Barrios Bellas tree planting project (pictured right) or by doing a tree planting tutorial with Southwest Elementary School.
Sometimes, though, we simply begin a conversation about the importance of trees by showing what they do—provide beautiful shade. As Jennifer Bonnet pointed out in the KJZZ article, trees provide a spot for community to happen. Because shade during a summer day in Phoenix is something we all value.
* photo by Andrew Bernier as originally published in the KJZZ article
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