By Dale Neal
Asheville, NC (October 30, 2009)- Joanne McPhail supervised three excited youngsters with shovels, teaching them Thursday how to plant a tree in what could become a thriving urban forest at the Deaverview Apartments. McPhail, an associate at The Home Depot in West Asheville, showed Nick Jones, 10, Irun Whiteside Francisco, 8, and Alex White, 9, how deep to dig, how to mix the soil with rich mulch and how to set the oak sapling into the hole.
Volunteer Joanne McPhail from The Home Depot helps Deaverview Apartments residents (L to R), Nick Jones, Irun Whiteside Francisco, and Alex White work alongside volunteers from GreenWorks and the Home Depot Foundation during the NeighborWoods tree planting initiative at Deaverview Apartments Thursday afternoon. (John Fletcher; 10/29/09)
“Your first tree,” McPhail said. “Now, 99 left to go.” McPhail was among about two dozen Home Depot associates volunteering their time Thursday to help Asheville GreenWorks plant more than 100 oak, dogwood and fruit trees and 60 holly shrubs at the West Asheville public housing complex.
Urban forestry can help reduce cooling bills in summer with shade trees, help reduce greenhouse gases, and make low-income neighborhoods more inviting, said Jared Liu of the Alliance for Community Trees.
Deaverview residents could see the fruits of the volunteers’ labors with pears and cherries harvested from a small orchard planted in the neighborhood, said Susan Roderick, executive director of Asheville GreenWorks.
Part of Asheville GreenWorks “Trees to Success” project to improve the health and livability of the French Broad Neighborhoods, volunteers from GreenWorks and the Home Depot Foundation participate in the NeighborWoods tree planting initiative at Deaverview Apartments Thursday afternoon. (John Fletcher; 10/29/09)
Asheville GreenWorks wins grant
Asheville GreenWorks was among 10 nonprofit organizations nationwide that were awarded $10,000 National NeighborWoods grants from the alliance and The Home Depot Foundation. In August, volunteers fanned out along Livingston Street and around the Reid Center to plant trees and shrubs.
October is a perfect month for planting trees, Liu said. The alliance has helped sponsor 600 tree-planting events in October in 230 cities nationwide, using 35,000 volunteer hours.
Getting residents outside
Besides improving air quality, trees planted in the city can make neighborhoods more inviting for residents to go come outside and mingle, said Eric Muecke, a state urban forestry specialist.
Deaverview resident Albert Maybin saw the volunteers in his neighborhood on his way home from work. “I think it’s a good idea, especially if we could have some park benches under shade trees,” Maybin said. “I’ve got things to do, but I’m going to get a shovel and help out.”
Asheville Citizen Times- Deaverview gets start on ‘urban forest’- Trees to yield many benefits
French Broad NeighborWoods Tree Planting Kickoff