Urban forests are in need of your help! The Senate is suggesting a twenty-five percent cut to the US Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program for fiscal year 2018! Let Congress know that urban forests are important to everyone’s quality of life and any cut to the program is unacceptable. We need to call both our NYS Senators and our US Rep in the House.
Here’s a sample script from which you can excerpt your script or email text. Start your communication by establishing your connection to UCF.
Dear Senator Schumer,
I work in the field of urban forestry as an educator, writer, and editor for organizations such as the NYS Urban Forestry Council. As your constituent, I am deeply concerned with any funding reduction to the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) program. The Senate proposed a 25% cut to this important program while the House of Representatives’ Appropriation Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies recommended a funding level close to the FY 2017 amount of $28 million. I ask for your help to keep the FY 2018 amount for this program level with FY 2017, at the very least.
Our nation’s 138 million acres of urban and community forest lands affect over 80% of the U.S. population and are vital to creating and maintaining healthy, livable communities of all sizes by providing many scientifically proven social, economic, and environmental benefits to people. The ability to mitigate air pollution, reduce energy consumption, mitigate the heat island effect, improve human health, and reduce stormwater runoff have directly or indirectly reduced costs in communities by millions of dollars. The collective value and benefits of community trees equals over $10 billion nationwide. With a projected 90% of Americans living in urbanized areas by 2050, investing in trees to create livable communities needs to happen now, because it takes time to reap the benefits.
UCF directly assists state government, nonprofit organizations and partners that manage and steward our nation’s urban and community forests. Working with the state forestry agencies, the program provides technical, financial, research, and educational support and services to local government, nonprofit organizations, community groups, educational institutions, and tribal governments.
UCF helps cities and towns across the nation prepare for storms and other disturbance events, contain threats from native and invasive pests, and improve tree infrastructure and forest cover. Properly managed community forests offer towns and municipalities a cost-effective way to manage stormwater runoff, reduce heating and cooling costs, and attract more tourists and consumers. They help communities avoid storm and disaster costs through preparedness and training, and maximize the economic, social, and ecological benefits of their tree resources.
In FY 2016, U&CF reached over 7,800 communities and 200+ million people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and affiliated Pacific Island Nations. U&CF is a high-impact program and a smart investment as federal support is often leveraged 2:1 (or in many cases significantly more) by states and partner organizations. U&CF engages citizens in cities and towns, brings together diverse partners, public and private resources, and demonstrates that federal investment can have huge and lasting impacts on communities of all sizes.
Please help ensure FY 2018 levels are in line with the importance of this program.