Adopt a Tree

(Milwaukee, WI) The goal of Greening Milwaukee’s NeighborWoods-supported Adopt A Tree Program is to increase canopy coverage to 40%.

Category: Community Development
In the 1960s the City of Milwaukee lost over 200,000 trees to the Dutch Elm epidemic. Although many trees on public property were replanted, many on private property were not. Trees currently make up just 16% of the city’s canopy cover. Greening Milwaukee re-establishes urban greenery by working with community groups and individual citizens to plant hundreds of trees throughout the spring and fall. The areas of the city hardest hit with tree canopy loss are the economically deprived and disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The Adopt a Tree Program focuses on four main streets in four underserved city neighborhoods. The four main street districts are:
* Burleigh Street Sherman Blvd. west to 60th St.
* West National Avenue 31st St. west to 39th St.
* Lincoln Avenue 5th St. west to 20th St.
* North 27th Street W. Highland Blvd south to St. Paul Ave
Greening Milwaukee cannot do this alone. Their many partners include:
* Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful is the provider of educational seminars, community relations, school education and curriculum, and volunteer source and surveys.
* Main Street Program is the business district representative and community organizer.
* Habitat for Humanity and New Covenant Housing select the homeowners who receive trees and provide volunteers.
* The City of Milwaukee provides access to the City Forester, all certified arborists, horticulturists, and specialists on staff.
Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful and Greening Milwaukee organize over 40,000 volunteers for their programs and activities annually. These volunteers include corporate volunteers from Fortune 500 companies working in teams. In addition, they work with Habitat for Humanity and New Covenant on home building projects. Their approach to volunteers is all business with job descriptions, evaluations, assignments, scheduling and recognition. For over 22 years, Greening Milwaukee has had regular volunteers who return year after year. Greening Milwaukee has served over 200 affordable homes projects.
Greening Milwaukee comes to every property to inspect the landscaping component. After determining the most strategic tree location, property owners are mailed a letter with recommended tree species and tree location, and instructed to call Diggers Hotline (a service provided free of charge) to locate all underground utilities before digging tree holes. Site preparation is handled by individual property owners, with technical assistance from Greening Milwaukee. In the case of elderly or disabled more assistance is given. Finally, on planting day, Greening Milwaukee delivers all trees to homeowners or sets up a pick-up location. With each tree comes VHS, DVD, or literature information about care and maintenance. This full cycle happens twice per year: from late April to end of June and from late September to mid-November.
* Planted and maintained 500 new trees at residential homes, business districts, and schools over the course of 21 events.
* Engaged 1,493 volunteers for 1,220 contributed hours.
* Taught students to appreciate the Urban Forest and partake in tree planting activities in their community by expanding the TreeKeeper program.
Lessons Learned
1. Engage communities to take ownership of making their spaces clean and healthy.
2. Encourage neighbors to form teams.
3. Facilitate workshops on proper tree planting, tree care, and maintenance for new homeowners.
4. Create and distribute a tree manual to homeowners.
Contact Information:
Joe Wilson
Executive Director
Greening Milwaukee
1313 W. Mount Vernon Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: 414-272-5462
Fax: 414-272-5060