Arizona Sustainability Alliance announced it received a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation's Community Resilience Grant program in partnership with Bank of America. This grant will strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods against the impacts of a changing climate.
Arizona Sustainability Alliance plans to use the grant to plant over 300 trees, shrubs, and milkweed plants in the West Mesa river community neighborhoods. Arizona Sustainability Alliance was one of four U.S. cities selected to receive the grant. They have partnered with the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, Mesa Public Schools, Arizona State University, Unlimited Potential, Treeland Nurseries, Phoenix Community ToolBank, and Mariposa Landscaping for 13 tree plantings over a course of two months.
"Our goal with this grant program is to help communities enrich not only their green spaces but also enrich lives," said Dan Lambe, President, Arbor Day Foundation. "We're supporting Arizona Sustainability Alliance in its effort to build awareness about the benefits of trees, educate residents on proper tree care, and lay the groundwork for a greener future."
"Low-and-moderate income communities experience the greatest impact of climate change and trees are some of the best and most cost-effective tools we have to address this," said Benito Almanza, president, Bank of America Arizona. "It's wonderful to participate in this effort with Arizona Sustainability Alliance through our Arbor Day Foundation partnership and help under-resourced areas in Mesa become more climate-resilient. Helping to create greater environmental equity is one demonstration of our commitment to growing responsibly here in Arizona."
Urban trees have numerous benefits, but the U.S. Forest Service has found that urban forests are shrinking in many U.S. cities. As the climate changes, the environmental impact of trees is particularly important. Cities increasingly face more frequent and intense ecological disturbances, including heatwaves and poor air quality in Arizona. Urban trees can alleviate these challenges and can create tree coverage that is linked to cooler cities, improved air and water quality, more effective stormwater control, and better health outcomes. Schools and parks in the City of Mesa will be able to enjoy these benefits.
"Arizona Sustainability Alliance is excited to collaborate with partners throughout the West Mesa community to facilitate the tree plantings for parks and schools," said Julia Colbert, Programs Director, Arizona Sustainability Alliance. "We are grateful for the support from Arbor Day Foundation's Community Resilience Grant program in partnership with Bank of America to improve access to green spaces in vulnerable communities."
"This grant will provide great benefits to our community by planting trees that help cool our cities while also absorbing CO2 and other air pollutants," said Donna DiFrancesco, Conservation Coordinator with the City of Mesa. "Many recent studies are finding that trees help strengthen community ties and provide health and social well-being for residents."
"Ultimately the trees will be great for our students and staff at the West Mesa schools. With the educational opportunity of planting the trees and helping to care for them, we are hopeful the project has a larger impact in the community with heat reduction and a sense of importance of planting shade cover," said Michele Grimaldi the Community Partnerships Coordinator for Mesa Public Schools.
About Arizona Sustainability Alliance
The Arizona Sustainability Alliance (AZSA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit action and advocacy alliance that aims to create and support cutting-edge, project-based sustainability solutions in Arizona through civic engagement, collaboration, and education. AZSA empowers Arizona citizens to work together toward more verdant, equitable, and sustainable communities. More information is available at www.azsustainabilityalliance.com.