At first glance, Richmond Hill might not seem to have much in common with Baltimore or Detroit, or more than a dozen other large cities around the nation.
But thanks to the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation, Richmond Hill was one of 15 such cities from across the U.S. to receive $5,000 grants from the Alliance for Community Trees and CSX.
The money will be used by the foundation to buy 75 trees, which will be given away beginning at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 and Henderson Park as part of a national NeighborWoods event.
And this isn’t the first time Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation has been involved with NeighborWoods and Alliance for Community Trees, according to Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation member Wendy Bolton.
So how did Richmond Hill wind up earning grants along with cities such as Arlington, Virginia, Bloomington, Indiana, and New Orleans?
“Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation has held a number of NeighborWoods events in the past,” Bolton said. “Working with representatives from the Alliance for Community Trees, we’ve developed a good relationship with their organization.”
What’s more, Bolton said Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation is helping participate in CSX’s “Trees for Tracks” program, which promises to plant 21,000 trees by the end of the year.
“I think the combination of Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation’s willingness to host events in our community and in the Trees for Tracks program made us an idea candidate for this grant opportunity.”
Bolton said that though Richmond Hill is smaller than the other grant receipients, “that’s a testament to the fact that you don’t have to be in a large, metropolitan city to have an impact.”
Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation will give away the 75 trees on a first-come, first-serve basis. The trees will be around 5-feet tall and range from seven to 15 gallons, Bolton said. Species will range from live oaks and crape myrtles to black gums, willow oak and Chinese pistache. The Foundation “reserves the right to substitute trees” if any of the species are unavailable this fall, she said.
As for why the tree giveaway is important, Bolton said the event gives Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation the chance to spread the word about the importance of urban forests – which currently comprise 25 percent of forest land in the U.S. and remove some 700,000 metric tons of pollution from the atmosphere each year.
“As our community continues to grow, maintaining tree canopy becomes even more important and this tree giveaway affords Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation an opportunity to educate residents about this as well as providing instructions for proper planting and care once they return home,” she said.
She encourages residents to mark Oct. 4 on their calendar and stop by Henderson Park.
“We are excited to be a part of such a wonderful event. Plant a tree and do your part to have a positive impact on our community,” she said.