Some of the benefits seem almost like common sense. They provide shade in the summer and act as wind-breaks in the winter, which reduces energy bills. They act as noise buffers and provide privacy. Their roots help prevent erosion. Then there are the benefits that you learned about in science class or on PBS; they remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and provide oxygen. They help mitigate the “urban heat island” effect, where a big city’s vast paved surfaces affect the environment adversely.
It seems that planting and maintaining trees in an urban environment would be a no-brainer, but that isn’t always the case. According to NASA, Atlanta is losing 50 acres of trees a day, and the city has lost 60% of its natural tree cover in the past 20 years.
So, Trees Atlanta certainly has its work cut out for it. Trees Atlanta is a non-profit group dedicated to replenishing the urban forest in metro Atlanta. A small staff of tree professionals and a force of dedicated volunteers work year-round planting new trees and maintaining existing trees. Trees Atlanta coordinates closely with the city government, and its ecological focus extends all the way to its working methods; water and mulch both come from reclaimed or recycled sources. You might have seen Trees Atlanta volunteers out in force on any given Saturday morning, but you’ve almost surely seen their handiwork; they’ve planted over 20,000 large shade trees in downtown and midtown, and over 68,000 throughout the metro area.
To learn more about Trees Atlanta and to volunteer for a Saturday morning planting, visit www.treesatlanta.org