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The National Recreation and Park Association has just opened the call for applications for our Great Urban Parks Campaign model project grants. We seek to fund replicable green stormwater infrastructure projects in parks located in underserved communities. The overall goal is to demonstrate the social and environmental impacts of green infrastructure approaches to stormwater management, such as access to recreation and opportunities to connect with nature. Grants will be awarded up to $575,000 and projects must be completed by fall 2017.

We are sharing this with you in advance of a larger announcement later in the week and would appreciate your passing the opportunity along to eligible organizations in your network. Attached is a grant overview. More information, including the online grant application link, are available at http://www.nrpa.org/greeninfrastructure. The due date for applications is April 29.

Great Urban Parks Campaign – Grant Details

The purpose of this grant opportunity is to demonstrate the effectiveness of green infrastructure to positively affect environmental change in underserved low‐income communities and communities of color, and thereby increase community engagement, connection to nature, and physical activity by community residents. The intention is to create replicable model projects that provide strategies and lessons learned for application by a wide range of communities.

This RFA will fund green infrastructure projects in parks that achieve each of the following key objectives:

  1. Increased public access to recreational opportunities and access to nature via parks in underserved low‐income communities and communities of color;
  2. Improved environmental quality and increased hazard mitigation by reducing flooding, improving the site’s ability to hold and retain stormwater, improving water quality, improving wildlife habitat, and increasing biodiversity; and
  3. A community engaged in improving environmental quality through green infrastructure solutions to stormwater management.

It is anticipated that this RFA will fund grants between $350,000 and $575,000. The maximum grant amount that will be awarded to a single applicant is $575,000. Matching funds are not required. However, it is expected that this grant will supplement substantial secured funding necessary to complete the proposed project. The grant check will be distributed in full upon execution of a grant agreement. Limited technical advisory will be provided by the National Recreation and Park Association, the American Planning Association, and the Low Impact Development Center, Inc. Grantees will be required to plan and conduct ongoing evaluation to assess and demonstrate social and environmental outcomes. Applications are due by midnight (EDT) Friday, April 29, 2016. Applicants will be notified whether or not they were selected for a grant by June 30, 2016.

Requirements:

  • The principal applicant must be a park and recreation agency or affiliated 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. If the applicant is not a park and recreation agency, the applicant is required to submit a letter of support for the project being proposed from the park and recreation agency director.
  • The project must take place at a park site in a low‐income underserved community.
  • Significant progress towards the program outcomes must be demonstrated and reported by October 2017. All major construction must be completed by this date.

Successful applicants will:

  • Demonstrate supportive high level community‐wide leadership, particularly from the mayor or similarly placed official(s), for the project. Letters of support from elected officials, partnering agencies and community organizations are encouraged.
  • Exemplify collaboration between the park agency and planning agency, or equivalent, to implement the proposed green infrastructure project and support community planning goals.
  • Explain how the project will advance social equity within the community.
  • Demonstrate how this grant will enable them to maximize environmental outcomes while engaging the community in their green infrastructure project.
  • Demonstrate how their approach to green infrastructure takes into account current models and data forecasts of changing climate conditions, particularly in the siting of their project in areas prone to extreme weather events such as flooding.
  • Identify and describe the underserved low‐income community that they will reach, including demographic statistics compared to the surrounding communities and region.
  • Show how they will improve environmental quality, create public access, and engage the community.
  • Outline their plan to monitor and evaluate their work to achieve one or more of the three key objectives listed above and indicate the metrics they will use to track results.
  • Identify their maintenance plan to sustain the project after the grant period ends.

The online grant application is available at http://www.nrpa.org/greeninfrastructure. For additional assistance, contact Jimmy O’Connor at joconnor@nrpa.org.

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National Park Service (NPS) Director, Dr. Robert Zarr (NPS Park Rx Advisor), and Richard Louv will be on NPR’s Diane Rehm show this Wednesday, April 6th at 11 am EST to talk about National Park Rx.

Park Rx is a community health initiative to “prescribe” time in parks to prevent and treat chronic disease and promote wellness ──and create the next generation of park supporters, visitors, and advocates in the process.

On National Park Rx Day, Sunday, April 24, 2016, parks across the country (National parks, state parks, regional parks, county and city parks, and other open space) will be hosting events.

A National Park Rx Day Mini Tool Kit (FINAL NPS – National Park Rx Day Mini Tool kitprovides information to help health providers, parks, non-profits, and other partners host an event.  Here are some ways to participate:

  • Invite dignitaries from health providers, national public land managers, community leaders and other nonprofits for an event with health screenings and healthy activities for doctors, patients, and the greater community.
  • Walks with doctors and patients to nearby parks on trails.
    Provide ParkRx pads for everyone to prescribe parks to family members.
  • Offer transportation for patients from health provider locations to parks for healthy activities and a picnic.
  • Offer passive recreation activities in parks where permitted (yoga, tai chi, meditation).
  • Schedule active recreation activities in parks where permitted (zumba, bike rides, chit chat runs, hikes, soccer game, basketball match, frisbee, volleyball, etc.)

Register your event at https://www.surveymonkey/r/ParkRxDay. Please visit the Park Prescription website at www.ParkRx.org. Contact Anne O’Neill, Park Rx Coordinator, National Park Service at aoneill@nps.gov for more information.

 

 

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Georgia Tree City USA Communities. Enter to win a GoPro camera in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Tree City USA.

Photo Categories

  • Category 1 – My Scenic Tree City USA

Requirement: To be considered for this category, images must capture the beauty of your Tree City USA. (Tip: Focus on unique or historic buildings/locations that include trees… something that sets your city apart from others)

  • Category 2 – My Active Tree City USA

Requirement: To be considered for this category, images must show residents of your Tree City USA participating in activities in, around, or among trees. (Note: If your photo includes any recognizable faces, you must get permission from the individual.)

  • Category 3 – My Recognized Tree City USA

Requirement: To be considered for this category, images must contain one of your community’s Tree City USA recognition materials. Examples include a Tree City USA sign posted at the edge of town or a group holding your town’s Tree City USA flag. Feel free to get creative!

How to Enter

  • To enter the Tree City USA 40th Anniversary Photo Contest, post your submission on your Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page along with the hashtag #MyTreeCityUSA40 AND the City, State you live in.

Entry Period

  • Submissions will be accepted from April 6, 2016 to April 20, 2016.

Prizes

  • Each category will be eligible to win a GoPro camera.

Eligibility

  • Must be 18 yrs or older.
  • Must include #MyTreeCityUSA40 when posting image.
  • Must include City, State where image was taken [must be a recognized Tree City USA community to be considered].

How Entries will be collected

  • An internal team from the Arbor Day Foundation will collect every photo posted using the hashtag #MyTreeCityUSA40. On April 21, 2016, the photos will be given to an internal committee who will select 10 finalists for each category by April 25, 2016.

Voting Period

  • On April 28, 2016, the finalists for each category will be posted at www.arborday.org/ mytreecityusa40 and voting will begin. Voting will continue until 11:59 p.m. CT on May 5.

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Tree City USA began in 1976 and is marking its 40th Anniversary this year. Tree City USA is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters (Georgia Forestry Commission). This active partnership can be credited with the ongoing success of the program.

The Tree City USA program was designed to encourage better care of the nation’s community forests by awarding recognition to communities that meet four basic standards of a good tree care program. The Standards include:

Standard 1: A Tree Board or Tree Department

Standard 2: A Community Tree Ordinance

Standard 3: A Community Forestry Program with an Annual Budget of at least $2 per capita

Standard 4: An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation

16 communities are celebrating 40 years of participation including Urbana, IL, Clay City, KS, Junction City, KS, Newton, KS, Auburn, NE. Paramus, NJ, Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, NJ, Grand Forks, ND, Mandan, ND, Springfield, OH, Westerville, OH, Wooster, OH, Salem, OR, Philadelphia, PA; and Upper Merion Township, PA.

More than 3,400 cities and towns take great pride in practicing sound urban forestry and being recognized as Tree City USA communities. Georgia’s oldest Tree City USA is Columbus, which celebrates its 38th year as a Tree City USA in 2016. The 10 oldest Tree City USAs in Georgia include:

City of Columbus – 38 Years

City of Avondale Estates – 32 Years

City of Marietta – 32 Years

City of Washington – 31 Years

City of Trenton – 31 Years

City of Savannah – 31 Years

City of Atlanta – 30 Years

City of Macon – 30 Years

City of Valdosta – 30 Years

City of Gainesville – 29 Years

Tree City USA increases public awareness of the many social, economic, and environmental benefits urban forests provide. Today, more than 137 million Americans make their homes in Tree City USA communities. They benefit daily from the cleaner air, shadier streets, and aesthetic beauty that healthy, well-managed urban forests provide.

If you do not live in a Tree City USA community, talk to your mayor or city council representative or state urban and community forestry agency. To learn more about the program, go to arborday.org or gatrees.org.

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The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is addressing the critical urban forest resource management issues of tree failure and risk in coastal Georgia and equipping community leaders with essential tools to proactively manage the health and sustainability of their urban forests.

International consultant, Mark Duntemann of Natural Path Urban Forestry in Vermont will address misconceptions among community leaders about the price of prevention v. the risk of costly litigation. Mark will discuss proactive management and the benefits of retaining healthy trees that pose low risk, and why and how to prioritize trees of the highest risk, based on city size and budget. This information can save cities thousands of dollars in tree value and benefits.

An important one-day workshop will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Midway, Georgia at the Coastal Electric Cooperative to help community leaders understand genuine tree risks, benefits, and current tree risk management strategies that are reasonable and defensible.

The objectives of the Coastal Georgia Tree Risk Management project are to help cities:

  • Recognize that the benefits of trees outweigh the perceived risk.
  • Reduce the potential for human, home and property damage.
  • Be prepared to defend the tree program if a tree-related incident occurs.
  • Understand the ramifications of managing tree risk in a reactive way.
  • Demonstrate due diligence and a proactive approach through “As Low As Reasonably Practical” (ALARP) concepts.
  • Learn what to do and who to call. Consult an ISA Certified Arborist.

Join us! This workshop is for city and county managers, arborists, tree board members, city council members and public works directors.

Register at www.georgiaarborist.org.

Trees: Reduce the risk. It’s feasible, it’s reasonable, it’s your duty! #treerisk

 

We celebrated 2016 Georgia Arbor Day across the state in many different  ways.

The statewide Arbor Day event on February 17th at Trees Atlanta was a packed with more than 100 people, including 25 Tree City USAs, 4 Tree Campus USAs,  1 Tree Line USA and 4 mayors from Decatur, Dunwoody, Kennesaw and Mansfield. Director Robert Farris read the Arbor Day proclamation signed by Governor Nathan Deal and presented each community with a certificate and photo opportunity. News releases about the event were sent out locally on Georgia’s Arbor Day, officially declared as Friday, February 19th. Special guests for the “Mayors’ Symposium on Trees” were Danielle Crumrine and Josh Lippert from Tree Pittsburgh, Tim Keane, Walter Brown, Ryan Gravel and Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett.

More than 100 cities across the state celebrated in their own unique ways. The City of Avondale Estates planted a Ginkgo tree, specifically chosen by a homeowner for its beautiful fall color and unique characteristics (hopefully not female!). The City of Duluth planted two fruit trees at Bunten Road Park with the theme of hunger relief. The City of Rome held a seedling give-away and dedicated their new Heritage Trail Memorial Arboretum. All three mayors attended these local events.

Timmy Womick and the Tree Circus made appearances in Albany, Thomasville, Columbus, Warner Robins, Macon, Tifton and Oxford. At Agnes Scott College, honor trees were planted on campus in recognition of faculty and and staff, and Betty, a baker in the cafeteria, baked a delicious Arbor Day cake for the students.

“My Tree our Forest” Tree Tags were distributed to 40 communities to hang on the trees at city hall or other public spaces on Arbor Day. The tags help carry the message about the benefits of trees to citizens across the state.

“Hello down there!

  • I’m busy saving you money.
  • I’m busy making city life fun.
  • I’m busy making oxygen for you.
  • I’m busy making useful things for you.
  • I’m busy keeping your streets safe.
  • I’m keeping your drinking water clean.

What are you up to?”

We hope you were celebrating trees in your community too. Send us your pictures!

 

 

By Tim Womick, TreeCircus

 

Russell Elementary in Warner Robbins where my first show of the day was prides themselves as “The Best School in the Universe.”  One of the reasons why they levy such a claim is their Junior Master Gardeners program. I’ve never heard of one before.

For over 35 years, volunteers have been participating in Master Gardeners (MG). The training is offered through the Georgia Cooperative Extension.  Their goal is to bring the latest horticultural information and practices from the world of research to local communities.  It’s working at Russell.

There needs to be more MG’s volunteering in our schools.  America’s future is our children.  Make a difference. Volunteer at your local school…they need you.  I salute Russell Elementary.

Later in the day I visited Macon’s Stratford Academy.  I love Macon for several reasons but at the top of the list would be their Yoshino Cherry trees.  Believe it or not, Macon has more cherry trees than Washington, DC!  During their annual International Cherry Blossom  Festival in March and begun in 1983, they sell 2,000 Yoshinos to the public (at $10 bucks a sapling…you do the math) that helps fund Keep Macon Bibb Beautiful.

All across Georgia, Keep America Beautiful affiliates work as the backbone of our statewide tree community.  But not only do they advocate for trees, they pick up a lot of litter (people who litter are trash) and coordinate recycling efforts too.

What is your city known for?  Take a hint from the fine folk in Macon and start your own tree festival. You’ll stimulate your economy, add to local beauty and contribute to a much needed healthy urban forest canopy.

Teach your children well.

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