Earlier this month, Friends of the Urban Forest launched our new Adopt-A-Yard-Tree program to give free trees to eligible San Francisco residents to plant in their yards and gardens. The pilot program will focus on distributing trees in San Francisco neighborhoods with low tree canopy. FUF is also providing expert guidance to tree recipients so they can plant and care for the trees themselves.
The Adopt-A-Yard-Tree program enables FUF to meet the needs of communities that request trees to be planted in their yards. Residents often ask for native and fruiting varieties of trees, but FUF can’t always accommodate those requests due to the requirements of city code for street trees.
FUF has curated a list of native tree and fruit tree species that are suitable to give away as yard trees. Eligible residents can submit their request for a free yard tree by completing this form: friendsoftheurbanforest.org/yard-tree-request.
“Native tree species increase habitat for native wildlife and pollinators, and fruit tree species increase community sustainability, food security, and resilience,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, Executive Director of FUF. “Thanks largely to the Community Resilience Grant, we’re able to use those species to increase the benefits of trees in neighborhoods that most want and need them.”
This pilot program is made possible, in part, by a $50,000 Bank of America Community Resilience Grant and the Arbor Day Foundation. This stems from their national partnership focused on strengthening vulnerable neighborhoods against the impacts of a changing climate and improving the overall health of local communities. FUF was one of four organizations selected nationwide.
The program is also supported by a grant from the Urban and Community Forestry Program of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
FUF will distribute the 200 trees in partnership with organizations in the eligible communities, including Wu Yee Children’s Services, Bayview Community Hub, GM Consulting Group, and others. As part of the pilot, FUF is also collecting interest from residents in other neighborhoods. Already, FUF has received requests for trees beyond what our current grant will cover. FUF will seek additional grants to expand the program beyond the pilot to meet this demand.
On February 4, FUF launched the program by giving out trees at the New Beginnings Community Festival at the Kirkwood Early Learning Center in Bayview-Hunters Point. FUF will give out trees at three other events during this pilot phase of the Adopt-A-Yard-Tree program, at locations and dates to be determined. Information about the program is available at friendsoftheurbanforest.org/adopt-a-yard-tree.
Historically, communities at the outer edge of the City have been overlooked in the development and implementation of tree planting and greenspace projects. Friends of the Urban Forest recognizes the environmental harm caused by this disinvestment and actively seeks to repair the resulting damage inflicted upon these communities.
Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between health and convenient access to natural elements. Furthermore, a thriving canopy can help mitigate flooding, reduce temperatures to curb the urban heat island effect, improve water quality in critical watershed locations, and filter airborne pollutants in highly industrialized communities.