Creating More Equitable Urban Forests by Understanding and Responding to Historical Trauma

The author, Christine Carmichael (far left), with a group of volunteers at a street tree-planting event in Detroit, Michigan in 2015. All photos courtesy of the author.

Creating More Equitable Urban Forests by Understanding and Responding to Historical Trauma

By Christine E. Carmichael, Ph.D., Founder and Principal, Fair Forests Consulting, LLC

For the last couple of decades, research documenting inequitable urban forest coverage by race and income in the United States has grown. Far from being an issue relegated to one city or region in the U.S., it is now clear that whiter and wealthier neighborhoods across the country have more tree canopy coverage than neighborhoods with predominately non-white residents and those with lower median income.[1] [2] [3]

Read more…

Successful Tree Planting, Rochester’s Urban El Camino Trail in DEC Conservationist Magazine

See the recent online edition of NYS Conservationist for interesting features, including one coauthored by DEC UCF staff Christina McLaughlin and Dan Gaidasz on “How to Plant a Tree Successfully.” There’s also a piece called “Strides through an Urban Trail” about Rochester’s El Camino: Butterhole-Seneca Park Trail, a multi-use pedestrian greenway that was adapted from an old railroad line. Other features treat environmental justice in NYS, planting for pollinators, dogs that detect invasive insects, monarch butterflies, the Tonawanda Wildlife Mgmt Area, and New York’s damselflies and dragonflies. Check out this superb publication.

What is Buffalo Rain Check? A Pictorial Introduction

Students in a summer program test out the porosity of the porous pavement installed in the bike lane as part of Buffalo Rain Check’s Kenmore Avenue Green Streets Project.

In addition to public works departments, many cities find a driving force for urban forestry is the water and sewer agencies who are responsible for managing stormwater. Buffalo Sewer is one such entity who is fighting for more tree canopy cover throughout the City of Buffalo through its Rain Check program. In partnership with residents, businesses, developers, and local institutions, Buffalo Sewer is finding myriad ways to capture and absorb water in the City and its spaces, with environmental justice and equity as a main priority.

Here’s a pictorial highlighting some of the projects. You can also take a virtual tour of eight ambitious green infrastructure projects in Buffalo through the Rain Check site.

Located at the foot of West Ferry Street on the scenic Niagara River, Broderick Park is steeped in history, most notably as a major terminus of the Underground Railroad between the United States and Canada. The park pays tribute to the people who crossed the water from that point to freedom in Canada and is listed as a designated Network to Freedom site by the U.S. National Parks Service, a national network of historic places and educational or interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad. Recent renovations to the park include new entrance features, a small performance amphitheater, a waterfront promenade, new shelters, and revised parking facilities—all with the intent to uplift the space as a public memorial to the incredible local history of the Underground Railroad. The City of Buffalo recently invested over $1 million in a range of renovations to the park, including updated parking facilities with green infrastructure elements. By using porous pavement in the parking areas, the pavement surface keeps over 124,000 gallons of stormwater from entering sewers in a typical rainfall event, protecting local water quality. The porous pavement looks just like regular asphalt but allows water to drain through the paved surface into a recharge bed and infiltrate into the soils below the pavement.

Read more…

Deadline to Apply for Environmental Justice Grants Extended to July 27, 2018

DEC Extends Application Period for Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants
Deadline to Apply for Grants Extended to July 27, 2018

Green infrastructure (bioswale). Photo by Karen Emmerich

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced the extension of the application period for Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants. The deadline to submit applications has been extended to July 27, 2018. In April, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $4.5 Million in Community Impact Grant funding is available to help communities facing environmental justice challenges address environmental concerns. The funding is provided by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

Read more…