If you’ve noticed more green in your local green spaces around Delray, that’s all thanks to the partnership with Community Greening! Even if you haven’t yet heard of Community Greening, you have likely seen their work throughout town.
Community Greening, an urban-forestry non-profit, is a collective effort to improve our environment for people and nature. They are an engaged community creating sustainable green spaces and a vibrant tree canopy to equitably strengthen our environment, economy, society, and health. Since their founding in 2016, they have planted more than 10,500 trees with more than 5,000 volunteers of all ages, via tree giveaways and plantings in public parks, schoolyards, residential yards, and urban orchards from West Palm Beach to Deerfield Beach.
Fast forward to 2023, when the CRA Office of Sustainability and Resilience connected with Community Greening regarding the tree planting at the Historic Fifth Avenue Cottages and tree giveaway at Spady Cultural Heritage Museum next door at the same time.
“Trees are critical green infrastructure that provide ecosystem services including storm water management, reduction of the urban heat island effect, wildlife habitat, reduced air pollution, and increased property values. To quantify the benefits and better plan where trees should be planted, the City conducted a Tree Canopy Analysis in 2019,” said Kent Edwards, City of Delray Beach Sustainability Officer. “The report determined that Delray Beach’s canopy has an average of 23% coverage, with some neighborhoods maintaining 29% canopy, and others as low as 15%. The report recommended establishing a goal of 10,000 new trees in five years to raise the average canopy to 28%, reducing the disparity among neighborhoods and maintaining the health of the current urban forest through proactive maintenance, and increased training of city staff.”
On Saturday January 21, 2023 a tree planting and tree giveaway event was held at the Spady Museum and Community Redevelopment Area properties located on Northwest Fifth Avenue near Second Street. The event was associated with the City’s goal to plant “10,000 Trees by Year 2025.”
“To attain this goal, it is critical to work with partners and communities, and this event is an illustration of why this approach is successful. Nearly 200 native and fruit trees were given away to City residents, and 19 trees from five different species were planted on the properties. The trees will enhance the properties and provide ecosystem and health benefits for many years to come,” Edwards said.
The City adopted the goal in 2020. By the end of the first year, the City planted 300 new trees in parks, 250 trees at local schools, 200 trees in rights-of-ways, and gave away 1,000 trees to residents at giveaway events.
To continue the tree planting program, the City entered into an agreement with Community Greening on June 14, 2022. The agreement is for a one-year tree planting program, with three subsequent yearly options for renewals, to perform the additional plantings necessary to reach the 10,000 tree goal. This effort is funded by the Tree Trust Fund.
To find more information on the City’s Tree Canopy Assessment, Tree Inventory, and Urban Forest Management Plan, click on the following link: Delray Beach Tree Planting Program | City of Delray Beach, FL (delraybeachfl.gov)