Partnering with Utility Companies to Plant Trees

January 17, 2008
National Webcast
The utility sector is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. today, where heating and cooling homes accounts for nearly 60 percent of residential electricity usage. Needless to say, the utility sector is a major focus of climate change and energy security discussions. If you think that markets, incentives, and entrepreneurs are the answer to energy efficiency, then the partnership between tree organizations and utility companies makes sense. Trees reduce ground level ozone and clean CO2 from the air while providing shade and ultimately cutting energy usage by up to 30%. Trees also cool cities by 10-20 degrees, helping cities to meet air quality standards for federal highway dollars.

Downloadable Resources:
Partnering with Utility Companies to Plant Trees Resource List
Joan Lionetti Presentation
Patty Petersen Presentation
Joan Lionetti, Executive Director, Trees for Tucson (Tucson, AZ)
Since 1993, Trees for Tucson has planted 55,000 trees through their partnership with Tucson Electric Power. Through this $90,000 annual program, Tucson metropolitan area residents can receive up to two trees (five and fifteen gallon), delivered directly to their homes, for $6.00 each, if they agree to plant them on the east, west, or south side of their home. As a result of this partnership, Trees for Tucson went on to host the first Cool Communities Conference in 1998, talking about parking lots and rooftops.
Patty Petersen, Field Coordinator, Trees Forever (Marion, IA)
In 1991, Iowa established a law that energy companies had to dedicate a certain percentage of their conservation dollars to trees. While some companies do tree giveaways, Trees Forever established a relationship with Alliant Energy and Aquila that continues today. The programs are called We Dig Your District and Branching Out. Through this program, the energy companies support Trees Forever with funds that are passed-through in increments of $500-10,000 to municipal committees (nonprofit or governmental) to plant trees. Trees Forever provides the expertise and support.
Brown Bag attendees will learn:
* How the programs got started.
* What partnerships were/are key.
* Design and maintenance.
* Cost and coverage.
* Financial sustainability.
About the Brown Bag Lunch Series
The Brown Bag Lunch Series is a monthly webcast held at the lunch hour and made possible through support from The Home Depot Foundation and USDA Forest Service. The overall goal is to create informal training opportunities for local urban and community forestry organizations. The series is geared to mainly serve the needs of volunteer organizations and community groups. While the webcasts are open to all, the content is most likely to be of interest to practitioners who work directly with the public, volunteers, or youth.
The trainings leverage local successes by amplifying to a larger audience the model organizations’ methods, materials, and approaches. Sessions are planned to last no more than one hour, with two presenters speaking on the same topic from slightly different perspectives, each for 10-15 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of questions and answers.