This probably isn’t breaking news, but Roanoke is gorgeous. Seriously. If Roanoke were on Tinder, we’d all be swiping right. Carvins Cove, the Mill Mountain Star, the greenway system—these are just a few of our favorite spots to take in the local beauty. Something these places all have in common? Green, leafy, lumpy trees. They spruce up (no pun intended) our yards and region, and they’re pretty darn important to our community. And since the recession, Roanoke’s trees, one of the City’s greatest assets, have suffered. That’s why Trees Roanoke, a new non-profit, has arrived on the scene.
What is Trees Roanoke?
Trees Roanoke is a 501(c)(3) non-profit started in May of 2018. The Roanoke Tree Stewards and concerned citizens formed this organization in response to Roanoke’s suffering urban forest. Since the 2008 recession, the Urban Forestry Division of Roanoke Parks and Recreation has not had the necessary funding to maintain the tree replacement program, meaning trees are being removed around the City without others being planted in their place. It is estimated that more than 2,500 trees were lost along city streets and in parks over the last 10 years. This loss of trees lowers property values, raises ambient air temperatures, and reduces economic activity.
In conjunction with Roanoke’s Urban Forestry Division and the Roanoke Tree Stewards, Trees Roanoke intends to plant new trees in the City to offset the number removed each year. Additionally, the group wants to educate the public on the economic and environmental impact trees have on a community.
What Are Some Trees Roanoke Projects?
Already, the non-profit has been making an impact. This past October, they hosted a Forest Bathing Workshop on Mill
Mountain. In this program, participants learned to tune their senses to connect with the forest and learned how bridging this gap helps improve mental and physical health. It included guided yoga, meditation, as well as blood-pressure readings before and after the workshop. More are scheduled for this spring.
They have also already had two tree plantings—one at Temple Emanuel and one at Holton Plaza. The Temple Emanuel planting also included a how-to workshop from the Roanoke Tree Stewards.
This spring, Trees Roanoke is planning community-engagement projects with a $1,000 grant from Simple Roanoke. The funds are for future tree plantings with the goal of inciting more interest in the importance of trees. And with Arbor Day around the corner, you can be sure they’re cooking up something fun!
How can people get involved?
Become a Roanoke Tree Steward. It’s a free course provided by City of Roanoke’s Urban Forestry Division. To get more information or to join, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-853-5225.
Donate. One-hundred percent of donations goes toward purchasing and planting trees in the City. To donate, visit https://treesroanoke.org/donate.