In recent years, scientists have quantified the eco-services of trees and strengthened the need for healthy urban forests. Benefits include cleaner air and water, energy savings, higher property values, food production, reduced flooding, crime reduction, and mental health benefits. Increasingly, cities are adopting tree planting campaigns for the economic, health, and environmental benefits. Minority neighborhoods with lower average incomes have lower tree canopy coverage and environmental benefits than neighborhoods with higher incomes. Community Greening programs are concentrated in these areas because studies show that environmental amenities disfavor racial and ethnic minorities with lower incomes. For example, in the Northwest/Southwest neighborhood of Delray Beach, tree canopy coverage is 17%, compared to neighborhoods of East Delray where tree canopy coverage is 27%. Minority residents experience fewer eco-services offered by trees, such as shaded walkways, reduced flooding, and cleaner air. Tree planting campaigns that exclude minority communities may exacerbate inequity and reduce the chance for urban forests to thrive.
Community Greening is proposing to fund, train and equip a minority Community Tree Champion to carry out their mission where it is needed most. By placing a minority in a key leadership position and investing in their urban forestry skills, through workshops and trainings, more residents will join the campaign and more trees will be planted. The Community Tree Champion will conduct community outreach, education residents, organize tree plantings, and lead a Youth Tree Team that encourages disadvantaged teens to improve their neighborhood while gaining job skills.
The Impact 100 PBC grant will fund the Community Tree Champion to lead residential tree plantings and the Youth Tree Team with approximately 200 volunteers. Impact 100 funds will help plant 1,000 trees, which will be tracked via tree plotter software showing location and types of trees to create a balanced and equitable tree canopy. We will manage tree planting programs that provide free shade trees or fruit trees to residents of low-tree canopy and food desert neighborhoods in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. Additionally, we plan to purchase a vehicle with towing capacity to haul a trailer for delivering trees, water, and mulch.
Measuring Program Success
Metrics will be updated every 6 months, as reports are received.