November 10, 2019 4 min read

Plant A Tree Day: Community Reforestation Highlights

Our second annual Plant a Tree Day was bigger and better than ever! Over 1,700 volunteers came out to plant 6,000 trees as well as 2,000 other types of native plants, plus conduct supportive activities such as tree care, invasive species removal, trail-making, seed collection, and trash cleanup. Over 200 acres were restored in 96 locations around the world. That's nearly triple the impact we had at last year's events! 

Here's a map to show where all the events happened. Feel free to zoom in and click the tree icons for details.

The objective for One Tree Planted was to give anyone the opportunity to help nature close to home, which is why all the volunteer events were free and open to the public. And despite the events being unified under Plant a Tree Day, September 28th, they were really spread out over a month-long period. Practically speaking, this created the flexibility to have more people participate in a variety of locations and activity types all uniquely suited for the needs and climate of the local environment.

From Brazil to Boston, Nairobi to Napa, in community parks and watersheds and playgrounds, what we saw was an incredible show of dedication from everyday people just like you creating the change they wish to see in the world. It all started with one tree, then another and another. 

Here are just a few of the individual event highlights:

Volunteers helped care for about 2 acres of trees at Colmar Manor Community Park, Maryland. The trees had been planted by One Tree Planted volunteers back in the spring, and this time participants returned to remove weeds, vines, and invasive species so that our trees can continue to grow and thrive. These trees provide habitat to local wildlife,  restore the tree canopy that has been devastated by the emerald ash borer beetle, and filter stormwater and surface water before it goes into Dueling Creek and the Anacostia River. 

At  Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, California , volunteers participated in seed collection and a native plant walk around an in-progress restoration area. The seeds they collected were transferred to the local nursery in order to be used in future reforestation and restoration activities. 

In Panama City, Florida, 175 native trees were distributed to local residents affected by category 5 hurricane Michael that made landfall on October 10th, 2018 in the Florida Panhandle. The  urban canopy was severely impacted by the storm and this event along with other activities will help replace the lost trees.

In Prescott, Arizona, volunteers removed over 2000 Ibs. of invasive plant species and debris (that is really hard work!), fixed irrigation lines, rerocked the plant basins, and trimmed some existing trees and shrubs. All of this was done in a vital riparian corridor around Butte Creek in Prescott, Arizona. 

In Nairobi, Kenya, volunteers planted 700 trees on the sites of two girl's schools.

In Quito, Brazilstudents helped refurbish and clean up an abandoned park by picking up trash and cleaning ponds. Much to their surprise, they found frogs that are nearly extinct and now are leaping into action to ensure the young tadpoles survive!

While there are many reasons to celebrate Plant A Tree Day, here are the top two that motivated us to go all out.

1. Fall is a great time to plant trees.

While most people know that spring is a good time to plant trees, many don't know that fall is also a great time. And in the case of some tree species or climates, it's actually better (see below to explain why). Plus, some trees benefit from tree care just before winter to continue to grow healthy and strong. So we wanted to do something to raise awareness for trees at this special time of year.

2. Personal experience is priceless.

Our usual planting events happen in specific locations around the world, so it's pretty rare for a volunteer opportunity to come up near where you live. With Plant A Tree Day, we were able to organize lots of events spread throughout North America as well as several other countries around the world so that many more people could attend. And these "hands in the dirt" experiences are immensely valuable and fun! It's a way to connect with the Earth, give back to nature, and learn about what's going on with the environment near you.

Why plant trees in the fall?

Fall is a time of moisture from rain and diminished heat, which helps trees develop root systems without wasting energy on producing or sustaining leaves. This allows the roots to get well established before the relative dormancy of winter, and the result is a stronger root system for the following spring when the tree begins to grow and produce leaves or needles.

Special thanks to all the on-the-ground local partners that helped make Plant A Tree Day a huge success!

Missed an event? Don't worry, we'll do it again and next year. And in the meantime, you can still help us get trees in the ground 🌿

We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?

by Diana Chaplin

Canopy Director & Eco-Storyteller