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Tempe kicked off Earth Month with a Tree-a-Thon planting event on April 1, planting more than 100 new trees across the city.
Volunteers gathered throughout the morning to plant the trees at Connolly Middle School, Arredondo Park, Joyce Park and several apartment buildings in the Escalante and Alegre neighborhoods. About 60 trees were planted in the school and 40 trees in both parks. All trees planted were drought tolerant, low water use species.
The project was made possible thanks to a collaboration between public, private, and not-for-profit partners whose combined efforts have helped expand shade coverage in Tempe. Keep Tempe Beautiful and Trees Matter, two local nonprofits, helped coordinate the tree planting in partnership with the City of Tempe Department of Community Services and Office of Sustainability and Resilience. This effort was funded by the State Farm and Salt River Project (SRP). State Farm employees also served as volunteers for the project, and trees donated by SRP were planted in designated residential areas.
The Tempe Tree-a-Thon 2023 is part of a larger effort to increase shade coverage in the city and create more resilience to extreme heat. The city aims to have 25% trees and shade roofs in the city by 2040. The project also aligns with an initiative to improve green spaces in schools as part of Tempe’s Youth and Neighborhood Agenda Climate Action Plan.
Trees provide many benefits, both in the immediate environment and as part of the larger community ecosystem. In addition to providing shade, trees can help reduce energy bills, purify water and air, protect soil, and reduce the urban heat island effect. Desert-adapted trees—such as those planted as part of the Tree-a-thon—are particularly well-suited to our landscape, providing shade and cooling while using water efficiently.
Earlier this year, State Farm awarded a $500,000 Century of Good grant to the city’s Office of Sustainability and Resilience to create a safer, stronger, and more resilient community by mitigating the negative effects of extreme heat.
Thanks in part to these funds, the Sustainability and Resilience Office is investing in green stormwater infrastructure, native tree planting, and renewable energy projects. EnVision Tempe, the city’s one-stop resource center and resilience hub, is slated to open later this year.
Tempe City Council has increased investment in the city’s sustainability and climate protection programs.
“To fight climate change, we all need to work together,” said Tempe Mayor Corey Woods. “I am very excited that our private and non-profit partners are coming together to create more shade and green space in our city. State Farm recognizes the need for additional investment in our community’s future, and we couldn’t be more grateful. We hope this collaboration will serve as an example of what other places in our state and across the country can do to bring about fundamental change in sustainability.”
Tempe takes action to reduce emissions and promote resilience by focusing on the guiding principles of tax responsibility, entrepreneurship, equity, engagement and effectiveness. Learn more about Tempe’s local efforts to prevent global climate change at tempe.gov/SustainableTempe.
Find out what else is happening to celebrate Earth Month in Tempe at tempe.gov/EarthMonth.
Read more stories from the Phoenix Area at Signals A Z.com.
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