Volunteers planted trees at Washington High School in December as part of an urban forestry program (photo courtesy of Arizona Sustainability Alliance).

Arizona Sustainability Alliance (AZSA), in partnership with Bank of America, American Forests, Maryland Elementary, Washington High School, and the Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus Pine held a successful tree planting Dec. 3 to beautify the campus while providing much needed shade to students and staff. Over 50 volunteers planted 56 trees between the two school campuses.

AZSA’s Tree Planting Program aims to increase shade canopy within urban spaces by incorporating native and desert-adapted trees into the landscape, as well as educating local residents on the benefits of urban forestry.

Kayla Killoren, AZSA’s Tree Planting programs manager said, “I am extremely happy with the turnout of the event. Seeing people out here planting trees to help beautify the schools and improve the overall community is really rewarding.”

Ashley Anderson, principal of Washington High School said, “Washington High School is grateful for the generous tree donation from Arizona Sustainability Alliance, American Forests, and Bank of America. We love to continue to find ways to beautify our campus for our students and community, and these trees help to accomplish that goal. We are appreciative of the volunteers that generously offered their time and hard work to plant these trees across campus.”

Regions in need of urban forestry development are often identified using the American Forests Tree Equity Score Tool (https://treeequityscore.org). This index determines need by identifying social and economic factors including unemployment rates and poverty levels, as well as ecological factors like average temperature and existing tree cover. Maryland Elementary and Washington High School both have a tree equity score of 73. Prioritizing areas with lower tree equity is crucial in Arizona, so that we can improve the overall shade canopy and bring about equitable change across all communities.

For more information about Arizona Sustainability Alliance’s ongoing Urban Forestry efforts and other local sustainability projects, visit www.azsustainabilityalliance.com.


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