ARRA Stimulus Funds at Work in Urban Forestry

College Park, MD (January 14, 2010)- The green industry is a $40 billion market and increasing quickly. In many sectors of the green industry, including tree care, there is a job for every trained worker available. Some communities have caught on and are offering workforce training to expose adults and high school graduates to these career opportunities. Particularly, the partnership between urban youth and trees diversifies the green industry’s work force and makes green areas more accessible to urban communities. Now, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is at work in the urban forests.

Here are some of the way in which stimulus dollars are impacting urban forestry:
Baltimore, MD
Parks and People received $1,077,000 from ARRA stimulus funds provided through the USDA Forest Service to create green jobs. With these funds and the previously announced CDBG Stimulus funds provided by Baltimore City Housing, the Parks & People Foundation immediately created 22 new green jobs. The “Green Up, Clean Up Crew” work will generally be involved with urban habitat restoration, community forestry, trail maintenance, watershed restoration, landscaping, light construction, invasive removal, trash clean ups and removal, and other resource restoration projects at designated sites. Crew members will work a 32 hour work week, year-round with funding for 18 months.
Sacramento, CA
The Sacramento Tree Foundation was selected to receive $750,000 in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding to support their efforts to plant 5 million trees by 2025. In 2010, the Tree Foundation will hire three additional staff members whose primary responsibility will be to increase tree planting and education activities throughout the 6-county region. Over the next two years, this team of Greenprint Regional Coordinators will involve local volunteers and businesses in the planting of 10,000 trees.
Washington, DC
Washington Parks and People will create the DC Green Corps to link inner-city communities into lasting green jobs, and to spark lasting stronger investment in using urban and community forestry to meet vital community needs.
New York, NY
New York allocated nearly $400 million to the Parks Department over a period of ten years to plant 600,000 trees by reforesting 2,000 acres of existing parkland and lining New York City streets with trees. Of this, $2 million was a grant from the US Department of Agriculture through ARRA funding to create green jobs and restore urban forests in New York City. The grant will create up to 20 new jobs in horticulture and forestry over the next two years for graduates of the MillionTreesNYC training program. The New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is planting nearly 100,000 trees on public housing developments, in collaboration with the Greening of NYCHA initiative, and on schoolyards and playgrounds, community gardens, cultural institutions and other publicly-accessible properties. Along with NYRP, a MillionTreesNYC Advisory committee of over 80 public and non-profit partners was established to enlist community organizations, businesses, residential and commercial developers and everyday New Yorkers to plant and maintain the remaining 300,000 trees.
Denver, CO
The City of Denver In an effort to reduce residential energy costs and provide job training for military veterans, The Mile High Million has teamed up with Veterans Green Jobs to plant trees in neighborhoods across Denver. Funded as part a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to improve community energy efficiency through the City’s Greenprint Denver programs, the Trees for Energy Savings program will strategically plant 4,600 trees to shade homes and other structures to reduce energy usage and lower energy bills for residents. The program also strives to spur economic growth by creating jobs and providing job skills to military veterans. The two to three year program is scheduled to kick off this spring and will target 35 neighborhoods. Selected neighborhoods include those that fall below the City’s 18% canopy coverage goal and neighborhoods not already serviced by The Park People’s Denver Digs Trees program
Milwaukee, WI
The city of Milwaukee has received a $1.1 million grant through ARRA’s Pathways Out of Poverty program. The funds will be used to train workers in skills for the growing green economy. “This funding will expand our efforts training workers who are directly facing the challenges of poverty and unemployment, and introduce skills where people can find steady employment,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. The grant will allow for the expansion of the Milwaukee Builds Program and the Milwaukee Urban Forestry Initiative, which prepares youth and young adults for careers and jobs in the construction and forestry sectors. In addition, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and the city of Milwaukee’s Community Development Grants Administration are leveraging approximately $2.75 million in additional funds for Milwaukee Builds and the Urban Forestry Initiative.
Northeast Georgia
The Georgia Forestry Commission will assist in the creation of more than 30 jobs in north Georgia as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The federal program will subsidize a $897,000 grant to help stimulate the economy and restore ecosystems impacted by growth and urbanization. The funds will not replace or supplant state-mandated GFC budget reductions, but can only be used for job retention or creating new, temporary positions in the forestry industry. The funding will help create and retain green jobs in nurseries, tool and equipment sales, and landscape architecture, among others. These jobs will help sustain the health and diversity of north Georgia forests, which have been impacted by the pressures of growth and urbanization.
Philadelphia, PA
The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society received several million from the EPA stormwater revolving loan fund to plant 8,000 trees in Philadelphia in order to intercept and slow rain water.
Wilmington, DE
Delaware Center for Horticulture
Providence, RI
Rhode Island Tree Council’s Forest Sustainability Project, a $449, 000 initiative designed to help assess and improve forest health, provide urban forestry training, and promote, maintain, and increase green employment in Rhode Island, is being funded by an ARRA grant.
Mt. Jackson, VA
The town approved a $29,862 bid to D.W. Hoffman Construction to install 224 trees at various spots around Mt. Jackson. Funding for the urban forestry project comes from an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grant through the Virginia Department of Forestry. Trees of many different species will be placed along Main Street and Conicville Boulevard, at the town park and the wastewater treatment plant site and around three new entryway signs that will be installed soon- one each on the north side of town, south side and Conicville Boulevard. The planting of the trees, too, will be a similar effort in nearby towns through grants awarded by the forestry department. However, Mt. Jackson may take the additional step to be unique- by having an apple theme.
Sandpoint, ID
The city received $87,000 from the Idaho Department of Lands to remove hazard trees in parks and rights of way, as well as city tree-pruning, maintenance and stump removal. The project will affect approximately 285 trees in the city that need attention. The goal was to get the tree work done, and create and maintain local jobs. Local arborists here will be bidding on this work.
California ReLeaf will manage $6 million in urban tree planting projects that impact a number of communities throughout the state. The ARRA funding will allow California ReLeaf to distribute grants to 17 urban forestry projects throughout the state, planting more than 23,000 trees, creating or retaining close to 200 jobs, and providing job training for scores of young people over the next two years. ARRA funding has been responsible for a variety of green jobs including jobs in solar panel installation, alternative transportation, fire suppression, and more. The California ReLeaf grant is exceptional in that it provides jobs by planting and maintaining urban trees. Job creation and retention, particularly in economically distressed areas, is the main focus of the projects. Statewide, the California Urban Forests Council received a grant of $400,000 and will create 8 jobs through 3 large-scale tree-planting events in San Diego, Fresno County and the Central Coast.
San Francisco Bay Area, CA

  • City of Daly City: $100,000; 3 jobs created, 2 jobs retained; remove hazardous trees and plant 200 new trees; provide educational outreach to local schools.
  • Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation: $130,000; 7 part-time jobs created; plant 500 trees in West Oakland.
  • Friends of the Urban Forest: $750,000; 4 jobs created, 9 jobs retained; job training for at-risk youth in San Francisco; plant 2,000 trees, maintain an additional 6,000 trees.
  • Our City Forest: $750,000; 19 jobs created; plant over 2,000 trees and care for an additional 2,000 in the city of San Jose; job training program for low-income residents.
  • Urban ReLeaf: $200,000; 2 jobs created, 5 jobs retained; working with at-risk youth to plant 600 trees in Oakland and Richmond.
  • Central Valley/Central Coast, CA

  • City of Chico: $100,000; 3 jobs created; inspect and prune old growth trees in Bidwell Park.
  • Community Services and Employment Training: $200,000; 10 jobs created; job training for at-risk youth to plant and maintain trees in Visalia and Porterville.
  • Goleta Valley Beautiful: $100,000; 10 part-time jobs created; plant, maintain and water 271 trees in Goleta and Santa Barbara County.
  • City of Porterville: $100,000; 1 job retained; plant and maintain 300 trees.
  • Sacramento Tree Foundation: $750,000; 11 jobs created; plant 10,000 trees in the greater Sacramento area.
  • Tree Fresno: $130,000; 3 jobs retained; plant 300 trees and provide community outreach in Tarpey Village, an economically-disadvantaged neighborhood of Fresno County. Tree Fresno’s efforts to remedy some of these problems has been boosted with a $130,000 ARRA grant to plant 300 trees and provide tree care education to residents of Tarpey Village, an unincorporated area of Fresno County Island. The grant will help the organization retain three positions and relies heavily on engaging community volunteers. Outreach materials will be provided in English, Spanish and Hmong, the languages represented in the Tarpey Village area.
  • Los Angeles/San Diego, CA

  • Hollywood Beautification Team: $450,000; 20 jobs created; academic and vocational training in urban forestry; plant over 700 shade trees.
  • Koreatown Youth and Community Center: $138,000; 2.5 jobs retained; plant 500 street trees in economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

  • North East Trees: $500,000; 7 jobs created; provide 50 young adults with on-the-job urban forestry training; replant and maintain fire-damaged trees; street tree planting program.
  • Urban Corps of San Diego County: $167,000; 8 jobs created; plant 400 trees within three City of San Diego Redevelopment Areas.
  • Los Angeles Conservation Corps: $500,000; 23 jobs created; provide job-readiness training and job placement assistance to at-risk youth; plant 1,000 trees. The Los Angeles Conservation Corps is already using its $500,000 grant to recruit and train young people to plant and care for trees in Los Angeles’ neediest neighborhoods. The project focuses on South and Central Los Angeles, where many of the Corps’ members call home. The L.A. Conservation Corps project is among the larger of the California ReLeaf grants. But even smaller grants, like the one awarded to Tree Fresno, are having a big impact on communities hard hit by the recession and where some of the worst air quality in the nation is.