This November, Taking Root’s Tree for Me Program, with generous support from the Duke Energy Foundation, distributed about 50 trees to residents in the Cincinnati communities of Avondale, Bond Hill, Roselawn and Walnut Hills, and about 40 to residents in Florence, Kentucky. The Tree for Me program targets communities with low tree canopy (fewer trees and less shade) and educates participants as to the many environmental and healthful benefits of trees and how to plant and care for the trees.

When these newly planted trees reach maturity, the Tree for Me program calculated that they will intercept over 250,000 gallons of rainfall annually avoiding over 40,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from reaching our streams and rivers, and thereby keeping our waterways cleaner. Additionally, these trees will remove nearly 115 pounds of air pollutants, thereby cleaning our air, and save our communities over $14,000 by storing carbon and cooling homes with shade, reducing the need for air conditioning, and reducing the need for heat by breaking the wind.

The Tree for Me program runs on the generosity of volunteers and partner organizations. Kristopher Stone, the director of the Boone County Arboretum and Taking Root Board member made the Arboretum available as a site for tree pick up. David Gamstetter, another Taking Root Board member and Instructor at the University of Cincinnati, created a partnership for Taking Root and the Civic Garden Center to allow for pick up at the Center and provided a service opportunity for his students to deliver and plant trees for Bond Hill and Roselawn residents.

During the tree pick up events we heard from a resident in North Avondale how they had lost trees due to a landslide and were happy to have a replacement, and from residents in Florence how they were losing many trees to new developments and were happy to have trees to improve the lost canopy. Some residents in Walnut Hills and Bond Hill were getting trees that would be the first to be planted on their property. Over and over we hear remarks about how much larger the trees are than expected. Our thanks go to Natorps for growing awesome trees and providing them at a great price. We hope the trees inspire residents to plant more trees and to protect the trees they have, knowing of trees’ unique capacity to improve our environments and our health.

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