Large Scale Tree Canopy Restoration Kicks Off in New Orleans Area

October Tree-Planting Events Celebrate National NeighborWoods Month
Washington, DC (October 16, 2006)- Between Oct. 17 and Oct. 28, two parks and several thoroughfares will benefit from more than 500 trees being planted by volunteers affiliated with several organizations that are members of the Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) and its national NeighborWoods network. The tree-planting events are part of a larger effort to restore tree canopies in the parishes of Jefferson and Orleans and are sponsored by the Louisiana Urban Forestry Council, Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful, and the Baptist Crossroads Foundation/Parkway Partners.


The restoration of areas affected by last year’s hurricanes is among the efforts of more than 46 organizations around the country and in Canada that are participating in the second annual National NeighborWoods Month. Organized by ACT and sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation and the USDA Forest Service, NeighborWoods organizations will stage more than 150 events, plant more than 5,600 trees and recruit more than 13,000 volunteers to improve urban communities.
In New Orleans, one project will provide shade for 40 affordable homes being built in the Upper Ninth Ward’s Musician’s Village. In Jefferson Parish, volunteers will help restore Lafreniere Park in Kenner and Gretna City Park in Gretna. Projects continuing into November will include plantings along Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and collaborative parish efforts along numerous streets in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.
October 20 will be a full day of plantings, official proclamations and recognition of the joint Jefferson-Orleans efforts. Participants include John F. Young, Jr. (Chairman, Jefferson Parish Council), Aaron Broussard (President, Jefferson Parish), and Oliver M. Thomas, Jr. (President, Orleans Parish Council-invited). This project helps lay the groundwork for the recently announced, first-ever Joint Session of the Councils. In preparation for the October 20 event, volunteers will prepare various locations around Jefferson Parish for plantings.
These projects are funded by a special NeighborWoods Program Grant as well as by partners including Habitat for Humanity; the governments of Jefferson Parish, Jean Lafitte and New Orleans; Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans; the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; Algiers Economic Development Foundation; Katrina Krewe; the Brown Foundation; and the following neighborhood associations: Lakewood, Broadmoor, Coliseum Square, Treme and Esplanade Ridge.
“Last year’s hurricanes destroyed much of the tree canopy in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi,” said Alice Ewen Walker, ACT’s executive director. “Events taking place in the region during NeighborWoods Month provide an opportunity to focus both local and national attention on the destruction wreaked by the hurricanes, while also drawing attention to the regreening movement that’s flowering all across the United States.”
For details on Orleans Parish projects contact Jean Fahr at 504-620-2228. For details on Jefferson Parish projects contact Joe Baucum at 504-214-6044.
The Alliance for Community Trees
The Alliance for Community Trees was incorporated in 1993 as a problem-solving center for leaders of community-based urban forestry groups. Its founders shared a vision of healthy, functioning urban ecosystems nurtured by a broad base of community stewards. Today, ACT is a growing network of 96 nonprofit organizations engaged in tree planting, care and education. Its members are involved in grassroots community greening, public education, policymaking, job training, environmental design and other activities that support better urban forest stewardship. Information on ACT and its members can be found at www.actrees.org.
For Immediate Release Contact:
Alice Ewen Walker, Executive Director
301-220-2251 (office)
Catherine Smith, Communications
301-386-0889 (office)
240-460-0263 (cell)
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