ATLANTA, October 24, 2013 — At a tree planting event today at Price Middle School, the national conservation organization American Forests, alongside funding partners the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and U.S. Forest Service, announced that it will be studying the trees and natural environment surrounding Atlanta schools, known as an urban forest, in order to assess the benefits the environment currently provides to the students and develop tools and resources for increasing the impact of the schools’ landscapes on health and performance.

Studies have shown that trees and other greenery help reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, in children, as well as reduce stress levels. Trees and other forms of vegetation also are correlated to stronger community cohesion, improved health and well-being and lower crime rates. These social and health benefits are in addition to the better known benefits trees provide, such as cleaner air and water.

“Trees can do amazing things,” said Scott Steen, president & CEO of American Forests. “It is important that all children are able to attend school in a healthy, happy, productive environment. Using a science-based assessment process, American Forests is working with local schools, Bank of America and other partners to make sure that the trees around these schools are contributing to the health and success of our young people.”

Today’s event, hosted by local nonprofit Trees Atlanta, where local Bank of America employee volunteers and students helped plant trees at Price Middle School, is just one of many that will be conducted at Atlanta-area schools. Over the next few months, under the commission of American Forests, Davey Resource Group, a division of The Davey Tree Expert Company, will be visiting a variety of schools, gathering data and analyzing the tree coverage. Then, based on the results, American Forests, Bank of America and the Forest Service will be working with local partners to conduct strategic tree planting efforts at a variety of schools throughout Atlanta to enhance student performance and health.

“At Bank of America, we are committed to helping Atlanta’s schools and children,” said Geri Thomas, Georgia market president, Bank of America. “By working with American Forests and local partners on this restoration project, we are investing in a landscape that will provide benefits to the city for years and generations to come.”

U.S Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has called urban trees “the hardest working trees in America.” The Forest Service is active in more than 7,000 communities across the U.S., helping them to better plan and manage their urban forests.

This assessment and restoration work in Atlanta is part of the new American Forests Community ReLeaf program, which is doing assessments in five cities this fall. With funding support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service, Community ReLeaf is conducting analyses in Asbury Park, N.J.; Atlanta, Ga.; Detroit, Mich.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Pasadena, Calif., to help improve knowledge about and of the benefits urban forests provide to cities and their residents.

About American Forests
American Forests restores and protects urban and rural forests. Founded in 1875, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country has served as a catalyst for many of the most important milestones in the conservation movement, including the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the national forest and national park systems and literally thousands of forest ecosystem restoration projects and public education efforts. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 44 million trees in forests throughout the U.S. and in 44 countries, resulting in cleaner air and drinking water, restored habitat for wildlife and fish, and the removal of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Learn more at www.americanforests.org.

About the Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility
Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

For more Bank of America news, visit the Bank of America newsroom.

About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

CONTACTS:

Lea Sloan, American Forests, 202-737-1944, lsloan@americanforests.org
Matthew Daily, Bank of America, 404-607-2844, Matthew.Daily@bankofamerica.com

American Forests is an equal opportunity provider and employer.