Salt Lake City Mayor and family plant the 1,000th tree for 2020

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Salt Lake City’s Mayor, Erin Mendenhall, planted a London Planetree in Riverside park with the help of her family. The tree was the 1,000th planted in 2020.

The 1,000 tree initiative was one of the mayor’s campaign promises to add the trees and their benefits. She promised the trees every year she is in office.

“I’m so happy to have planted this tree in the ground today. This moment marks an important goal for our City realized, and while we couldn’t all be there together to celebrate, I’m heartened by the years of benefits our city’s residents will gain from the 1,000 trees we planted this year,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “By adding an additional 1,000 trees over and above what we typically do, we stand to actually increase our urban forest year after year. I can’t thank our partners, volunteers, and our City teams enough for seeing this through.”

The mayor’s tree program has become more important since the program started. At first, the trees were supposed to help improve environmental equity. The trees were supposed to help in neighborhoods that were hit with the worst air quality.

COVID-19 made the trees even more important because people were spending more time in the parks.

A hurricane force windstorm ripped through Utah on Sept 8, 2020 downing trees all of the city.

Even with the windstorm disaster, teams kept up on their planting mission and completed planting the trees, which was ambitious, even without the pandemic or storm added this year.

“Planting the 1,000th tree represents a milestone in the City’s long term goal of growing and sustaining a healthy urban forest and all the benefits it brings,” said Lorna Vogt, Director of the Department of Public Services. “The future depends on efforts like this to keep our growing city the beautiful, livable place we and future generations need.”

A release sent to ABC4 News it states:

“Salt Lake City could not have accomplished the 1,000 Trees Initiative without the help of non-profit groups and financial backers, including: 

  • The Clark and Christine Ivory Foundation, which donated $100,000 to the initiative, as well as hundreds of additional trees 
  • TreeUtah, who has facilitated donations and tree planting in the wake of the windstorm
  • Dominion Energy, who donated 205 trees and provided volunteers to plant them
  • Swire Coca-Cola, which has donated $10,000 toward 2021 plantings”

“TreeUtah is a nonprofit that plants trees with volunteer groups around the entire state, but Salt Lake is our home,” said Amy May, Executive Director. “We are grateful to Mayor Mendenhall for recognizing the benefits that trees provide to our community and the need for equitable distribution of tree canopy throughout all of our neighborhoods. Congratulations, Salt Lake City, for planting the thousandth tree on the westside!” 

“Over the course of this year’s tree planting work, which saw more than 2,000 new trees get installed, the Salt Lake City Urban Forestry Division has learned a lot,” said Tony Gliot, Director of the Urban Forestry Division. “The entire division is excited to continue expanding the City’s tree canopy in 2021 and is looking forward to working with more and more city residents to keep our urban forest growing.

The program is on track to continue the tree planting initiative in 2021

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