Earth Week: Planting a Greener Future

Earth Week: Planting a Greener Future

The City of South Bend Venues Parks and Arts launched its Community Canopy Tree Program earlier this year. 

The program all began as Public Works reached out to the The City of South Bend with extra funds.

Brent Thompson, the Urban Forester for Venues Parks and Arts, also known as VPA, opened up the applications online for people within the city to apply for a free tree. The response they received was so overwhelming that they had to shut down the online application.

Brent said, "Yes, we were so delighted. Being the urban forester, having people want to have a tree on their tree lawn is just such a great thing. The applications just kept on coming and coming.”

In total, the VPA is planting 140 trees across The City of South Bend! 

Even just one additional tree has such a great impact on the environment.

Brent explained just how useful trees are, "So the trees shade the hard surfaces so they don’t get warm and keep the warmth later in the day. The trees that we are planting when they are mature should be giving off enough oxygen for a family of four." He continued, “They will reduce and use 48 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere. That is the best way for us to prevent climate change.”

The list of benefits doesn’t stop there. It helps with storm water management and mitigates urban heat impacts.

This program is just the beginning for VPA.

VPA Executive Director Aaron Perri says that ecological stewardship is one of their highest priorities. 

“We know that a place like ours in the Midwest, in the deciduous forest that we target somewhere around 60% canopy coverage in the city and we’re not there yet. We got a lot of work to do to get there. So things like the tree giveaway program helps us make small steps towards doing that."

He continued, “We established an Ecological Advocacy Committee a few years ago to make sure that we are taking care of our shared public spaces in the most environmentally sustainable way possible.”

If you missed out this year, they plan to continue the program to help create a cleaner future.

Brent said, "

We are planting trees for the future, right? Plant them for our kids and our grandkids. It’s the next generation that matters.


If you are interested in planting a tree, Brent has dos and don’ts of planting trees here

There is another tree giveaway planned for April 24th at Pinhook Park, starting at 9 a.m. They are giving away 50 more trees, and it is first come, first serve.  

If you missed any of our stories from Earth Week 2021, you can click here

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