Initiative to Plant 250 Million Trees in 10 Years Launched by Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers
Cleveland Foundation awards grant to initiative to promote health benefits of trees
Cleveland, Ohio – A new initiative to plant 250 million trees by 2033 launched on Friday with a ceremonial tree planting at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. Four Great Lakes Governors gathered to inaugurate the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Trees Initiative as part of the Conference of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers (GSGP) Leadership Summit.
“Our goal to plant 250 million trees over the next 10 years will support a healthier environment and contribute to a better future along our Great Lakes,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, GSGP Vice Chair said. “Trees impact our lives on so many levels – our health, economy, and quality of life. By planting these seeds now, those living in our communities will benefit from them for years to come.”
Governor DeWine was joined in Cleveland by GSGP Chair and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for the two-day GSGP Leadership Summit. The ceremonial tree planting was done in partnership with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and the Cleveland Tree Coalition.
In addition to Friday’s tree planting, on Saturday, GSGP announced a new project to promote the health benefits of trees. GSGP will partner with the Cleveland Clinic and the Cleveland Tree Coalition to plant trees in low-canopy Cleveland neighborhoods and create informational resources for health care professionals and local communities. A grant from the Cleveland Foundation will support the project.
Lillian Kuri, President & CEO, The Cleveland Foundation, said, “I want to commend the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers on the launch of this transformative program. 250 million trees will be a game changer for the quality of life for the residents of the Great Lakes region.”
Over the next decade, GSGP will work with the region’s eight US States and two Canadian Provinces, federal governments, corporations, cities and other institutions to plant 250 million trees in the region. Tree planting creates many benefits including carbon storage, water quality improvements, habitat, recreational access and improved health outcomes. Widescale tree planting has strong public support. A 2020 Pew Research Center poll found that 90 percent of Americans embrace tree planting to protect the environment.
In addition to the ten-year tree planting goal, the Trees Initiative includes several other components:
- A Supporting Partners program to expand corporate, nonprofit, philanthropic and other assistance for tree planting on public and private lands. Michigan-based Consumers Energy is the first Supporting Partner.
- A Great Lakes Green Events program that encourages sustainability at conferences and events and supports local tree planting projects. The Great Lakes Healing Our Waters Coalition, Great Lakes Commission and GSGP recently held the first Great Lakes Green Events.
- A partnership with The Nature Conservancy to track the number of trees planted and help quantify the benefits of tree planting.
- A focus on developing strategies and policies that maximize the environmental and public health benefits of tree planting.
GSGP unites the chief executives from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Québec and Wisconsin. The Governors and Premiers work as equal partners to grow the region’s $6 trillion economy and protect the world’s largest system of surface fresh water. This partnership builds upon forty years of work by the Council of Great Lakes Governors to encourage and facilitate environmentally responsible economic development.