The affinity for trees cuts across divisions of age, class, education, culture and everything else. Appreciation for the grandest living plants on earth is surely in our genes (ever wonder why babies have such strong grips?) and still resonates today. A grand spreading shade tree is a magnet for all from toddlers to seniors.

Urban trees in particular offer us a chance to reconnect with the earth. With their roots in the soil and their branches reaching to the heavens, trees give us not only beauty, shade, fruit, clean air and filtered water. They provide a living link to the ecosystem, and a reminder that we all live in an urban forest.

Tree City helps encourage, train and organize people to care for the urban forest. Through planting projects, educational workshops and special events, we inspire citizens to become stewards who will create and maintain trees for a better city and a brighter future for generations to come.

Kalev.com (“local stories.global impact.”) recently wrote an article about Tree City’s environmental work.

Did You Know?

• Communities with trees are safer, more sociable and less prone to domestic violence. (University of Illinois Human-Environment Research Laboratory)

• Seattle’s EarthCorps is working with the local government and up to 10,000 volunteers to revive 3,700 acres of dying forests in the city’s parks. (EarthCorps)

• The city of Toronto would have to spend $16 billion to replace the trees making up its extensive urban forest. (Tree Canada Foundation)

• Portland’s volunteers have countered a trend toward diminishing urban forests by increasing the city’s canopy cover from 25.1% to 26.3%. (Friends of Trees)

• A community’s urban forest is not only an extension of its pride and community spirit. It can also increase property values by 10-15%, encourage shoppers to stay in a commercial district longer and spend more, and reduce rates of workplace absenteeism. (Michigan State University Urban Forestry)

• Windbreak trees can reduce home heating costs by 25%. (American Forests)

• Sacramento, California, which claims more trees per capita than any city in the world and savings of up to $40 million annually through reduced energy and infrastucture costs, is working with volunteers on a program to double its tree canopy cover. (Sacramento Tree Foundation)

• A typical large tree produces enough oxygen every day to supply four people. (International Society of Arboriculture)

• In Modesto, California, city officials increased the budget for trees after receiving a study showing that for each $1 invested in urban forest management, $1.89 in benefits is returned to residents. (Center for Urban Forest Research)

• The TreePeople group in Los Angeles has organized thousands of volunteers in planting more than 2 million trees. It now also advises the White House on urban ecology and is creating a stormwater retrofit plan for all L.A. (TreePeople)