The Arbor Day Foundation Sets Goal of Five Million Trees to Public and Private Lands in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico Restoring Lost Tree Canopies
Lincoln, NE (October 18, 2017) – The Arbor Day Foundation unveiled a brand-new hurricane tree recovery campaign today to get millions of trees back in the ground in the wake of hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. The initiative -- which will engage and mobilize public and private partners -- aims to plant and distribute 5 million trees over the next five years. The Arbor Day Foundation is already engaging with city and state leaders to ensure long-term recovery across the affected regions.
"The people of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have suffered great personal and physical loss," said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation president. "By replanting, we strive to bring healing and hope to the people and the communities in which they live. Over time, these trees will restore the canopy and beauty to these cities. They will also provide immense conservation benefits such as preventing soil erosion caused by the storm, enhancing water filtration and creating critical habitat for birds and other types of animals that thrive in these states."
In August and September, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria left a path of devastation in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, impacting homes and critical infrastructure. The hurricanes damaged and destroyed millions of trees in yards, parks and forests across the states and territory. Insurance will often cover the cost to rebuild structures, but not the trees and landscapes of a community.
"We appreciate the Arbor Day Foundation's desire and collaborative efforts to help bring trees back to our state in the wake of Hurricane Harvey," said Tom Boggus, Texas state forester. "Trees and forests not only play an essential role in creating healthy, thriving communities where our citizens live, work and play but are also critical to the economic engine of Harvey-impacted areas and essential to our recovery efforts."
The Arbor Day Foundation will be working with the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Florida Forest Service and many city and community leaders to help replant and distribute trees for planting over the next five years to help restore canopies damaged and lost due to the hurricanes.
"Recovery from a hurricane always takes public and private partnerships," said Jim Karels, Florida state forester. "We are proud to work with the Arbor Day Foundation to help residents, cities and our heritage forest lands recover from Hurricane Irma."
The hurricane tree recovery campaign, which is part of the Arbor Day Foundation's Community Tree Recovery program, will not only be helping the states of Florida and Texas and the territory of Puerto Rico but will also be assisting other communities devastated by natural disasters that occurred in 2017.
"Our phones have been ringing since late August from members and the public asking how we are going to help bring trees back to the areas affected by the hurricanes," added Lambe. "We are asking our members and partners, as well as our friends and neighbors, to step up and help bring these communities back to life. It may take years for these canopies to be restored, but now is the time to begin. While it could be months until final disaster numbers are reported, what we do know is that these events and our need to act are dire."
To see how you can get involved and make an immediate impact, please visit arborday.org/hurricanes.
About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Since 1972, more than 300 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees.
More information is available at arborday.org.