Arbor Day Foundation's Community Tree Recovery: Bringing Hope and Healing to Disaster-Stricken Communities

In the Wake of Natural Disasters, New Trees Bring Hope and Healing to Communities Beginning to Rebuild.
Dec 16, 2019 8:00 AM ET

Trees play a vital role in our communities. So when natural disasters strike, the loss of trees can be devastating. Damaged buildings and homes are often covered by insurance — but not the trees. The Community Tree Recovery program was created out of the great need to replace trees following natural disasters.

Through this program, residents who lost trees in major disasters caused by wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and insects can receive free trees to plant in their yards. This work is critical for reestablishing neighborhood trees ... as well as a sense of community.

The Arbor Day Foundation works with local partners on the ground to help organize events and to make sure we’re delivering the trees at a time when the community is ready to replant.

More than 5 million trees have been distributed through the program since 2005. This year, 23 active campaigns were held in 11 states, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. One of the campaigns was located in East Hawaii, helping the community recover after a volcanic eruption, hurricanes, and flooding devastated tree canopy in the area. Both native and fruit trees were distributed to residents. One tree recipient, Violet Witt, was grateful for her new fruit tree and the ability to grow her own produce again. “I cannot afford trees because the lava flow has made it economically difficult for us to even survive on a daily basis,” she said. “So for me, it is very important to have food sovereignty.”

The beauty of this program is that, time and time again, we bear witness to the power of trees. They are a sign of life and a vibrant step toward recovery for entire communities.

View the Arbor Day Foundation 2019 Annual Report in its entirety.  

Danny Cohn
Arbor Day Foundation
+1 (402) 473-9563