D Magazine publishes article explaining how trees help mitigate clime change

CAN YOU FEEL IT? Average daily high temperatures during 2011’s warm months

D Magazine LOCAL NEWS

A Reminder That Trees Can Help Save Dallas

A pair of new reports show just how important a role trees play in mitigating climate change.

BY MATT GOODMAN PUBLISHED IN FRONTBURNER AUGUST 12, 2019 11:37 AM

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Nearly two years ago, writer Dan Singer put together a story for us that explored the work that the nonprofit Texas Trees Foundation was doing to prove that all the concrete in Dallas-Fort Worth is making us hotter. Back then, it was among the first organizations in the nation to attempt to document just how hot all of our progress was making us. America’s cities are being wracked by the urban heat island effect, making them up to 20 degrees hotter than rural areas.

The Urban Land Institute last week put out a big report on this, and though it doesn’t mention Dallas, similar effects are being recorded locally by Texas Trees. In neighborhoods like the Medical District, where Texas Trees is currently raising money to fund an ambitious project to redesign major streets and create pedestrian promenades covered by trees, the temperature has in the past spent more than five consecutive months with temperatures above 100 degrees. That was in 2011, when DFW Airport recorded temperatures of more than 100 degrees for 71 consecutive days. In the concrete-covered heat islands, the number was 150 days; 112 people died from heat-related causes. If we get smart with trees, it will help save lives.

The New York Times reports that poorer, minority neighborhoods are often impacted by these higher temperatures than more affluent ones. Communities within Washington D.C. and Baltimore have variances of around 13 degrees, for instance. Portland’s can vary as much as 15 degrees. The Urban Land Institute’s report calls more trees and greenery, citing examples in New York where city officials turned parking lots into green spaces and installed “cool roofs” where they could. Houston dropped its temperature on Bagby Street in Midtown by more than 20 degrees by strategically installing 175 large trees.

We are probably behind these places. But you can see Dallas getting with the program. In June, the city announced that it had teamed with Texas Trees to come up with the city’s first Urban Forest Management Plan, which will include a strategy of where and how to plant trees and then maintain them. We don’t have that.

Back in 2017, Texas Trees found that Dallas was heating up faster than all American cities but Phoenix and Louisville. That Urban Land Institute Report says Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Denver, Portland, D.C., Kansas City, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Seattle now have more intense daytime urban heat islands. But we can’t be that far off.

Tell Your Tree Story

To Protect and Defend

 

Oh, how happy we should be,

That we have shade under a tree.

Shade that reduces bills,

And also produces chills.

We can’t relax,

We’ve been given this task.

To protect and defend,

Just like a dear friend.

 

Oh how grateful we should be,

For the oxygen that we breathe.

Trees produce that you know,

That and refine H2O.

Now take a breath,

And take this test.

To protect and defend,

Just like a dear friend.

 

Oh, how surprised we should be,

That someone wouldn’t love trees.

When life seems all a mess,

Trees reduce stress.

So once again,

We must begin,

To protect and defend,

Just like a dear friend.

 

Oh how relieved we should be,

They ask so little these majestic trees,

Water if needed once in a while,

On their roots don’t place a pile.

All they would ask,

Since you’ve taken the task,

To protect and defend,

Just like a dear friend.

 

Oh, how honored we should be,

That we hold positions that help the trees.

Help them we must,

They’ve given us their trust.

They have no voice,

And we have made that choice.

To protect and defend,

Just like a dear friend.

 

—Susan J. Henson, Horticulturist/Arborist, City of Grand Prairie, Parks and Recreation

Award Nominations

AWARDS CRITERIA

Nomination Form

Everyday Hero Award

Awarded to an individual with outstanding community service who has demonstrated leadership in a project or organization and has  shown  exceptional  dedication  to improving the urban forests of Texas.

 

Excellence in Education Award

Awarded to an individual, organization, or agency that has done the most in the past year to advance Urban Forestry Education in Texas. Recipient must have shown innovation and leadership in creating or improving educational opportunities for either individuals or organizations. This  should  be  demonstrated  through  educational materials, workshops, programs, videos, public awareness programs, etc.

 

S.O.S. – Save Our Shade!

Awarded to an organization or community that demonstrates creative solutions toward caring for the urban tree canopy in relation to the various threats our trees face – preserving the many benefits & services delivered by the community’s trees.

 

Best Project

Awarded to an organization or community which completed an urban forestry project that:

•    Addressed two or more environmental or public safety issues

•    Involved the community and/or other organizations or agencies

•    Significantly enhanced the urban forest and livability of the community

 

Awarded to the municipality, community, or business that has shown the most improvement

in the past year or has demonstrated over a period of several years’ exceptional leadership, innovation, growth, and, community involvement in creating

a consistent and well-managed urban forest.

 

Community Building with Trees Award                      

Awarded to a corporation, agency or elected official whose mission is not urban forestry related but has demonstrated a significant and noteworthy level of contribution to a community, region, or the State of Texas utilizing urban forestry or green infrastructure programs to contribute to,  and  enhance quality  of  life.

 

Designing with Trees

 

Awarded to landscape designers, architects or town planners, the new ‘Designing with Trees’ category awards projects that utilize the benefits of trees in a creating public spaces. Public spaces are those open to the public for recreation, transportation, retail or commercial activity