By Lydia Seabol Avant
Tuscaloosa, AL (June 30, 2011)- For every dollar donated to the National Arbor Day Foundation, the conservation group plans to donate a tree to tornado-affected areas of Alabama, including Tuscaloosa.
The foundation unveiled its Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign this week in response to efforts from the Alabama Forestry Commission to help reforest the state in areas hit hard by the April tornadoes.
Although much of the tornado-affected areas like Tuscaloosa are still cleaning up debris, people can help with the replanting of trees now by donating through the Arbor Day Foundation’s website, said Matt McCollough, urban forestry coordinator for the Alabama Forestry Commission. For every dollar donated, a 2- to 4-foot tree will be delivered to an Alabama resident affected by the April tornadoes. “This would be the best way for people to contribute right now,” McCollough said. “While planting a tree now is a wonderful thought and I know people have great intentions and want to give back to the community, it would not have a high chance of surviving if planted in a drought-stricken area this time of year.”
The native trees will include dogwoods, black gum, willow oak and shumard oak and will be distributed by the Alabama Forestry Commission in February 2012, to coincide with Arbor Day. According to the commission, the best time to plant trees is during the dormant, winter season from November through February.
The campaign aims to help people restore their homes and neighborhoods and bring healing and hope to the affected areas, said Alabama State Forester Linda Casey. The tree campaign for Alabama will likely go on over the next few years. “The trees lost in the recent tornado outbreak provided millions of dollars in environmental, economic and social benefits,” Casey said. “This campaign can go a long way toward putting our communities and surrounding areas on the path to recovery.”
Every person who donates will also receive a free six-month membership to the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit with more than 1 million members in the U.S. The Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign is part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees for America program. After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, more than 120,000 trees were delivered to people affected by the hurricane. More than 20 million trees have also been replanted in national forests devastated by disease and fire as part of the program.
Tuscaloosa News- Program to plant trees in storm-damaged areas
Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign
Tuscaloosa Residents Looking to Replant Trees Lost in Tornado