As American Forests celebrates being 140 years young this year — don’t we look great for our age? — we continue onto the next leg of our Global ReLeaf journey. And in terms of American Forests’ history, it was certainly a doozy!
In partnership with Subaru’s Share the Love event, American Forests undertook a monumental task in 2012 that had been unprecedented in our entire history — planting in all 50 states in just one year! While American Forests has long planted in all 50 states and 45 countries in the past 25 years, planting in all 50 states in a mere 12 months was, indeed, a challenge and expedition in its own right. Additionally, each of these projects was incredibly unique and fulfilled differing community needs. Strap on your best planting gloves, because we’re going to take a look at some highlights of 2012 projects that could have occurred near your own backyard!
In the northeast, many of our planting projects focused on wildlife habitat or urban forests. In Maine, we replanted dozens of white pines for recreational enhancement at The Maine Wildlife Park, while in Vermont, we planted 36 trees in downtown Montpelier to enhance the city’s canopy. In New Jersey, we planted 200 trees along the Musconetcong River to preserve vulnerable aquatic ecosystems.
Moving further south, we planted 2,500 trees in Charlotte, N.C., to reforest riparian areas and enhance the water quality for millions of people in the metropolitan area. Our work didn’t stop there, however — we planted endangered longleaf pine in Alabama and restored fragmented forests with hardwoods in Louisiana. In Kentucky, American Forests partnered with the American Chestnut Foundation to provide more than 7,500 seedlings to a bee yard, providing much-needed habitat for pollinators at the former mining site.
Further west also exhibited its own fair share of project diversity. Our first project in North Dakota since 1994 planted 3,000 trees in an area that had suffered from profound flooding. In Nebraska, we planted 66 trees in the Maxwell Arboretum to educate the public about the benefits of trees, while in Oregon, we planted a whopping 100,000 trees to restore native forests after the Shadow Lake Fire. In California, we planted hundreds of thousands of trees across several projects to restore critical habitat for the endangered California spotted owl and myriad other species at risk.
2012 was a huge year in American Forests history, and we are incredibly proud of the variety of work that we completed throughout the country in this monumental year. Til next time, tree huggers!