College Park, MD (March 12, 2013) – After meeting last month with 60 Congressional offices on Capitol Hill during our 2013 Policy Summit to advocate for trees and green infrastructure, it’s now time to take the message to your home districts. Reach out to elected officials at their local offices, get them involved in your organization’s activities, and share the tangible benefits of urban trees to your community.
“We’d love to have all our members meet with elected officials in their hometowns,” says Carrie Gallagher, ACTrees Executive Director. “Sharing the goals of your organization and providing data on the real life impacts urban forests are having in your community goes a long way when it comes time for policy makers to designate where budgets go and how they vote on issues important to trees and green infrastructure.”
- If you weren’t able to attend the Policy Summit, ACTrees held a National Webcast, “Going to Your Capital,” which outlines the ACTrees and SUFC Public Policy Agenda. It also offers step-by-step guidance for arranging meetings, protocols for meeting with public officials, key talking points and leave-behinds, and much more. A recording of this webcast is available on ACTrees website. Check it out.
- If you did join us on Capitol Hill, be sure to take the next step. Now is the perfect time to follow up with the local office of those Members of Congress in your district, especially if you met with them or their Washington staff. For example, Dotti Clune, ACTrees 2013 Volunteer of the Year, Friends of Grand Rapids Park, followed up her Washington meeting with Representative Justin Amash and invited him to an Arbor Day tree planting in Riverside Park–part of a project funded through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant (EPA funds channeled through the Forest Service). The idea was hatched when a legislative assistant advised that Rep. Amash and his family have a strong interest in trees and have donated 30 trees to the local botanical garden.
- If there isn’t an immediate opportunity to invite elected officials to a local event, arrange for a meeting with Congressional Representatives and their staff at their home office. And, send a simple follow-up email to all of the elected officials/staff members with whom you met during the Policy Summit. Encourage and remind them of the issues of importance that you discussed. Download ACTrees “leave-behind” document.
- Please share your advocacy activities, and let us know what ACTrees can do to help support your outreach to elected officials.