The mission of Richmond Trees is to promote and grow the City of Richmond’s urban forest and green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education and advocacy in order to improve the health and well-being of the diverse Richmond community.
Richmond Trees’ vision is one of a healthy urban forest that covers at least 40% of the city and is cared for by partnerships between community organizations and the City of Richmond. A healthy tree canopy has innumerable economic, environmental and social benefits and its presence reflects a community that understands and appreciates those benefits.
Richmond Trees is a dedicated group of volunteers who are passionate about growing a healthy urban canopy throughout Richmond. We were formed in 2011 when a group of North & East residents met with the City of Richmond Parks and Landscaping staff on a Sunday afternoon for tea. We went for a walk in the neighborhood and brainstormed about how to get more street trees planted.
Residents who had previously been strangers began canvassing the neighborhood together, spreading the word about the City of Richmond’s Adopt-a-Tree program. We learned how to plant trees and why they are so beneficial, developed educational materials, and began caring for the trees after they were planted.
Fundraising efforts commenced when additional funds were needed to purchase trees, tools, remove and recycle concrete, and create educational materials.
We have learned that planting trees and caring for them goes hand-in-hand with building community and creating partnerships with community-based organizations and the City of Richmond’s leadership and staff. We are proud of the partnerships that we have developed and the community that we are all creating together.
Our work includes canvassing, planting, ongoing tree care, organizing community events, education, and sharing best practices. During the rainy season from October to March, we co-sponsor Arbor Day, Harvest Festivals, and Days of Service with the City of Richmond and other community organizations, when Richmond volunteers from all walks of life come together to plant trees in parks and on city streets.
Richmond Trees was honored to be selected as one of 25 grant recipients by California ReLeaf and awarded a $10,000 grant in 2012-13. The grant was awarded to groups who “reflect a creativity and commitment to making our state a better place to live for this generation and generations to come.” The funds received allowed us to purchase tools for planting and tree care (concrete saw, jackhammer, shovels and hammers), write bilingual educational materials (booklets for treeadopters, door hangers and flyers). We have received additional grants from PG&E, Veolia Water and the Rose Foundation.
On October 22, 2011, we received a Proclamation Honoring Greening the Streets of our Community from Mayor Gayle McLaughlin in gratitude for our work.
In April 2013 we received a Recognition of Meritorious Service for Community Beautification from the City of Richmond.
In May 2016 we received a Gold Leaf Award for Outstanding Arbor Day Activities from the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture.
In August 2017, the California Urban Forestry Council (CAUFC) honored us with their S.O.S. “Save Our Shade” Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize an organization that demonstrates creative solutions for the care of the urban tree canopy and the various threats California trees face. The award is recognizing our well-respected Tree Care program. At the same time, CAUFC presented Richmond Trees Co-founder, Lee Micheaux, with the Every Day Hero Award which honors an individual with outstanding community service who has demonstrated leadership in an organization and shown exceptional dedication to improving California’s urban forests.
Richmond Trees is a project of Earth Island Institute.
“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson