Project Up™ 2020 | Growing Communities, One Tree at a Time

May 13, 2020

Trees are at the heart of every vibrant community. Since 2011, Boise Paper has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees through Project UP. Each Project UP planting works because local partners engage and involve neighbors in the community. Depending on the location and need, volunteers come together to plant anywhere from five to 50 trees and collaborate with residents on maintenance plans and post-planting care to keep the new trees healthy.

Over the years, volunteers at Project UP events have helped revitalize neighborhoods in 13 cities across the U.S. and Canada, with 2019 events in Jacksonville, FL, and Phoenix, AZ. Between the two cities, more than 130 volunteers showed up to plant 75 shade trees at local elementary schools – with children naming the trees they planted. An additional 500 seedlings were handed out to neighbors in Jacksonville to help the community recover tree canopy lost to hurricanes in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related safety measures to fight the spread of the virus, the spring planting event schedule in Portland, Oregon, had to be postponed. However, Boise Paper and Arbor Day Foundation staff and volunteers are hopeful they’ll be able to move forward with two planting events this fall.

Why plant trees?

Research from the U.S. Forest Service, American Forests, the Sustainable Urban Forestry Coalition, and universities like Texas A&M show that trees in cities:

  • help revitalize communities;
  • improve property values;
  • impact heating costs by adding shade;
  • reduce stress;
  • improve overall health; and
  • boost learning and retention in children.

Each tree is also a tiny pollution-sucking machine, capturing carbon dioxide, lowering asthma rates, and reducing the overall carbon footprint of a city.   

According to American Forests’ Tree Equity program, “low-income neighborhoods can have a fraction of the tree canopy found in more affluent areas” and enjoy fewer of these benefits from living near green spaces. Trees can be expensive to purchase for private urban landowners, so removing the initial upfront cost makes it much easier to plant a tree and enjoy the benefits for years to come.

TIP: Interested in doing something similar to help invest in your own community? Local tree plantings are either happening near you or just waiting for a partnership opportunity. Plant a tree or three and help grow healthier communities, more vibrant neighborhoods, and a stronger future. 

Sources:

“Trees Matter and Osborn School District green up with the support of Boise Paper’s Project UP™ initiative,” Boise Paper; “Greenscape of Jacksonville joins Boise Paper’s Project UP™ initiative,” Boise Paper; “Trees Are Key To Fighting Urban Heat — But Cities Keep Losing Them,” NPR; “Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives,” Southern Group of State Foresters; “About Urban and Community Forestry; Texas A&M Forest Service; “Tree Equity™,” American Forests; “Vibrant cities cultivate thriving urban forests that boost public health, safety, sustainability and economic growth,” Vibrant Cities Lab; “Urban and Community Forestry Program,” U.S. Forest Service.

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