Volunteers helping with the Asbury Park Tree Farm

Volunteers helping with the Asbury Park Tree Farm. Credit: Asbury Park Environmental and Shade Tree Commission

American Forests is pleased to be partnering with the Bank of America Charitable Foundation on our new Community ReLeaf program. We’ll be working together to complete assessments of five urban forests, which will be followed by strategic tree planting and restoration projects in Asbury Park, N.J.; Atlanta, Ga.; Detroit, Mich.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Pasadena, Calif.

“Our partnership with American Forests will help community leaders understand and respond to impacts occurring to the the biological infrastructure on which our cities depend,” says Cathy Bessant, Bank of America’s Global Technology & Operations executive and chair of the company’s Environmental Council.

The assessments will take each city’s unique needs into account. In Asbury Park, we’re analyzing the ecosystem benefits that were lost due to urban forest damage by Hurricane Sandy, while in Atlanta, we’re assessing the urban forest near schools and the health benefits it provides to children. In Detroit, we are looking at the ecosystem benefits of a specific park location: Rouge Park, the largest community park and last sustainable riparian forest in the city. In Nashville, we are measuring the benefits of the urban forest in key areas of the city to help plan for the rapid growth expected there. In Pasadena, we will determine how street trees help mediate air quality in a city that struggles with smog.

In each of these cities, the assessments will inform the next phase of Community ReLeaf: tree planting and restoration. “We are delighted to be partnering with Bank of America to help these cities build more resilient urban forests,” says Scott Steen, American Forests CEO. “Bank of America’s commitment and investment will make a real difference for these communities.”