On Monday, October 17th, the Trust celebrated the first of many tree plantings of the Urban Tree Program at a press event that was held at the Harlem and Denison Pocket Park in Baltimore. The Urban Trees program is a new effort created by the Maryland General Assembly’s Tree Solutions Now Act of 2021 and state resources provided through the Chesapeake Bay Trust (the Trust). The Act calls for five million trees to be planted across Maryland by 2031, with 500,000 of them targeted to urban, underserved areas.
Tree Planted at the Harlem and Denison Pocket Park in Baltimore.
Urban trees have significant benefits to human health, climate, the economy, and the environment. Yet some urban communities are severely lacking in greening, contributing to heat island effect, exacerbating asthma and other health issues, and reducing quality of life. Providing resources through ground-up, community-based grants empowers people to own this piece of community improvement, leading to sustainability.
The Urban Trees program started with the Maryland General Assembly; it was called on to green communities. To do this the program hopes to enhance the quality of life, human health, community livability, by improving air quality and reducing the urban heat island effect, and mitigating some of the effects of climate change. Ninety million dollars per year over nine years will be distributed by the Trust to communities, neighborhoods, civic groups, schools, and others who commit to planting trees in underserved regions as defined in the legislation. Funding is reserved for urban census tracts with low median household income levels, with high unemployment, or were historically red-lined or for public housing projects.
Many projects have begun to break ground in the past couple of weeks, and many plan to do so soon. Projects such as Blue Water Baltimore (BWB) and University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) are hosting tree plantings and calling for volunteers to assist.
BWB is planting trees in the Irvington and Violetville Neighborhoods in Baltimore City. They were awarded $342,444 to plant 600 trees across four West Baltimore neighborhoods. The plantings will occur on multiple days and welcome volunteers with any skill level. To volunteer or support any of these events individuals are asked to visit https://bluewaterbaltimore.org/events/ to register. See below for dates and times.
Planting dates and times for Irvington:
- 11/12/22 9am-12pm
- 11/15/22 11am-2pm
Planting dates and times for Violetville:
- 11/17/22 11am-2pm
UMB was awarded $39,289 to plant trees across their campus. They are holding a tree planting event on 11/10 from 10am – 12pm. To sign up to volunteer please visit this website https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=SrzNPUx-e0CA93-2dXGC8guqiWAXukhNgq4ivS31IWBUNDVVOE1JRDhBQVZFQklCTTRKQlQ1WjBPQS4u.
To learn more about the Urban Trees program please visit https://cbtrust.org/grants/urban-trees/.