NeighborWoods, a new program launched by the City of Boise’s Community Forestry division, will help reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and increase property values by providing free trees to homeowners.
Homeowners who sign up for the NeighborWoods program will receive a free tree to plant within 10 feet of the edge of their street. Participants must indicate a willingness to properly care for the tree as it grows.
The goal is to increase the canopy in parts of the city that are “under served” with trees along streets, said Brian Jorgenson, Boise’s City Forester. “A research project completed in 2007 by the US Forest Service’s Center for Urban Forest Research shows us that planting street trees in Boise pays us back in the long run, to the tune of a 30% return on our investment,” Jorgenson adds.
“As the new trees grow, they will help home owners and their neighborhoods by improving air quality, saving energy and increasing property values,” said Jorgenson. “Other benefits include storm water interception, shade, beauty and habitat for birds and other animals.”
To build awareness, Community Forestry has launched a direct mail campaign to targeted neighborhoods, including portions of Morris Hill and West Bench neighborhoods.
Community Forestry expects to purchase 100 trees from local nurseries with $5,000 in city funding. Species include white ash, honeylocust and maple among others. City of Boise certified arborists will help homeowners find a place to plant the trees and provide guidance on tree care techniques.
This program has been successful in other parts of the country, Jorgenson said. In October 2012, more than 45,000 trees were planted at 825 NeighborWoods events across the country.
Boise Community Forestry is a division of Boise Parks & Recreation with responsibility for the management of more than 41,000 trees in parks and public rights of way. Community Forestry also offers tree care classes, tree identification walks and other educational opportunities.