On Monday, October 26, 2015, American Forests hosted a ceremonial tree planting at the East Capitol Urban Farm in honor of its 140th anniversary and to recognize the signing of a new MOU with the U.S. Forest Service. During the ceremony, Dr. Dwane Jones, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences University of the District of Columbia, gave the following remarks:

Dr. Dwane Jones
Dr. Dwane Jones delivering his speech. Credit: American Forests.

“First, I want to thank the many, many partners involved in this effort — our local partners are invaluable and include: the DCBIA, American Forests, Groundwork Anacostia, the DC Housing Authority, DC Commission on the Arts, the District Department of Energy and the Environment, the Mayor’s Office, Metropolitan National Church and numerous others.

Each of these partners contributed to the continued success of the project in multiple ways, including, but not limited to, financial and technical assistance, expertise, community engagement and land resources.

We are especially indebted to American Forests for providing education and demonstration on the importance of an urban tree canopy and for connecting us with the DC Building Industry Association, which helped expand our initial vision into the multi-faceted urban space that you see today. The University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (aka “CAUSES”) fully supports systemic initiatives like those of American Forests, that promote sustainable development in urban areas by helping to mitigate climate change, provide clean air and improve quality of life in urban environments.

I also want to thank the Urban Waters Federal Partnership — an initiative launched by this Administration to restore urban rivers, and the communities that surround them, with an emphasis on those communities that need the most help.

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership convened many federal agencies around this effort — like USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Service and the USDA Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program which provided funding and materials, Department of Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service for helping convene the federal family and help fund, plan and implement the nature playspace and the U.S. EPA for committing funds early on which helped encourage other federal Partners to consider their contribution.

The Urban Waters Federal Partnership helped also bring national entities, like American Forests and Walmart, to the table.

While today we celebrate 140 years of American Forests and its long-standing relationship with the US Forest Service, we do so standing on the site of a project that took a community of people and partners to make it happen. Thank you, American Forest, USDA and all of the partners engaged in this effort. We look forward to continuing our work with your organizations and many more opportunities to improve economic opportunities and quality for communities in the District of Columbia and across the world.”