Pledge by Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation
Vermont Urban Tree Planting Pledge5,000 Urban Trees for Vermont Municipalities
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation's Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program's (VT UCF) mission is lead community members, businesses, and governments in understanding the value of urban and community forests and to promote public responsibility for, and participation in, the stewardship of these resources for this and future generations. The program is delivered in partnership with the University of Vermont Extension and provides financial, technical, and educational assistance to upwards of 100 Vermont communities annually.
In 2022, Vermont's General Assembly passed legislation directing VT UCF to support planting 5,000 trees to improve air quality and reduce heat island effects in urban areas. This initiative directly supports the implementation of Vermont's 2021 Climate Action Plan. This funding will allow VT UCF to significantly scale up urban tree planting through two specific projects:
1) Vermont Community Canopy: Up to 3,000 trees in high-priority areas throughout Vermont will be planted on private property through a residential "free tree" giveaway program. Since 2017 VT UCF has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to offer this program in cooperation with municipal and community partners.
2) Urban Tree Planting Grants: Up to 2,000 trees in high-priority urban areas throughout Vermont will be planted to increase urban tree canopy and improve water quality and public health by controlling stormwater runoff. This water infrastructure project supports climate change adaptations by establishing or restoring urban tree canopies and supplementing gray infrastructure with green infrastructure.
VT UCF is pleased to be a cooperative partner in achieving a global goal of restoring and growing one trillion trees by 2030 with this initial pledge of 5,000 trees planted in Vermont.
Arbor Day Foundation
VT UCF Advisory Council
Additional Pledge Details:
Vermont's urban and community forests are an integral part of community life and well-being. VT UCF's regular programs encompass educational, technical, and financial assistance to support urban and community forestry statewide.
In addition to 5,000 trees planted, supporting activities include:
• Providing technical urban forestry assistance to participating communities and municipal staff who manage trees in public spaces.
• Encouraging urban forest inventories and comprehensive management plan development.
• Supporting tree ordinance and policy development to protect and enhance urban tree populations.
• Designing and offering tree stewardship training and workshops for community members.
• Creating resources to promote the care and management of urban and community trees and include them on our website vtcommunityforestry.org.
• Identifying and prioritizing new partnerships to extend the benefits of urban and community forestry to all Vermonters.
• Working to increase access to the benefits of trees and urban and community forests for all Vermonters by applying a lens of environmental justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity across programming.
This pledge aligns with the:
• The 2017 Vermont Forest Action Plan
• The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Strategic Action Plan (2021)
• The Vermont Climate Action Plan (2021)
VT UCF will work with project partners, participating municipalities, and recipients of trees to ensure the proper planting and long-term stewardship of the 5,000 pledged trees. The Vermont communities identified through the Climate and Economic Justice Screening tool, a national dataset highlighting communities as disadvantaged based on thresholds for one or more environmental, climate, socio-economic, or other burden, are included as disadvantaged communities and high-priority areas in this project. Additionally, to capitalize on existing analyses of data from the American Community Survey (2013-2018) conducted by the US Census Bureau, disadvantaged communities prioritized in this project are also identified by referencing the Vermont Department of Health Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). Finally, this project prioritizes disadvantaged communities within Vermont's Urban Landscape zones (defined by building density in the Vermont Forest Action Plan) that encompass SVI-flagged communities or Urban Landscape zones that currently encompass areas with less than 40% urban tree canopy cover as calculated from 2016 land cover data. Within these communities, priority tree planting areas are public spaces in downtowns or areas adjacent to impervious surfaces, such as sidewalks and parking lots. This project will help communities develop neighborhood features that promote improved health and safety outcomes by revitalizing public spaces with trees and designed green spaces while delivering a wide range of co-benefits.