Tuscaloosa, Ala. (February 6, 2012) – The Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign announced the distribution of thousands of trees to residents at an event this morning in Tuscaloosa as part of an effort to reforest the state's communities damaged in the April 2011 tornados. This large-scale, multi-year initiative was launched jointly in June of last year by the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Arbor Day Foundation. Its purpose is to support recovery and help restore the tree-lined streets, shaded parks, and beautiful neighborhoods that have always been part of Alabama, as they were before the April tornados.
First Lady Dianne Bentley and Mayor Walter Maddox joined Assistant State Forester Patrick Glass and the Arbor Day Foundation's Dan Lambe in announcing the 16 North Alabama communities that will receive 30,000 trees this month in the first phase of this campaign. With plans to continue tree distribution into the fall and winter of each year to other communities that suffered destruction from last spring's tornados, the ultimate goal of the Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign is to bring the state's community forests back to their previous beauty and strength.
While the cleanup and rebuilding will continue for years to come, all Americans have the chance to support the Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign and help in the healing process by making an online donation at www.arborday.org/Alabama. For every dollar in donations, the Arbor Day Foundation, in coordination with the Alabama Forestry Commission, will deliver a tree for distribution to Alabamians affected by the April 2011 tornados.
Today's announcement specified times and key locations for this initial tree seedling distribution. The 16 communities include Cordova, Cullman, Fyffe, Glen Allen, Hanceville, Ider, Jasper, Lakeview, Oakman, Ohatchee, Pleasant Grove, Reform, Shiloh, Sipsey, Tuscaloosa and Vance.
Tuscaloosa resident Linda Jackson spoke to the audience, expressing her gratitude to all the groups and individuals who were helping to restore the city's trees. "Tuscaloosa has always been a city full of beautiful trees. Years ago, I chose my home and neighborhood because of the trees, not only for their shade but also for the privacy they provided." She went on to say, "Losing my home in the tornado was terrible, but losing all the trees in my yard was so much worse . . . I'm thankful that I've been able to fix my house, but there is no way to ever replace 300-year-old oak trees."
The Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign has attracted tremendous support from individuals, private foundations, and corporate sponsors across the nation and globe including The Davey Tree Expert Company, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the Australia-based Cotton On Foundation, and the Alabama Power Foundation.
"With this tree recovery campaign, we can take a meaningful step forward in rebuilding communities throughout Alabama," stated First Lady Dianne Bentley. "I am gratified to join State Forester Linda Casey and her hardworking staff, as well as the Arbor Day Foundation, in bringing back the trees that sustain our communities, enrich our neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for all Alabamians."
"The goal of the Alabama Tree Recovery Campaign is to help families restore their homes and neighborhoods. Planting new trees can bring beauty, healing, and hope," said Patrick Glass, Alabama's Assistant State Forester. "With everyone's support of this collaborative effort, the campaign will restore North Alabama's urban tree canopy and the many environmental, economic and social benefits those trees provide."
The Arbor Day Foundation's "Trees for America" Emergency Recovery Program has become a growing resource for community tree recovery following natural disasters. Prior to this year's tornados, the Foundation delivered more than 120,000 trees to Gulf Coast families impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The Foundation has also planted more than 30 million trees in our nation's forests devastated by disease and fire, and continues to assist Missouri families through its Joplin Tree Recovery Campaign.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization with more than one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at www.arborday.org.
The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama's forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state's forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy. For more information, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.