January 30, 2024
We are pleased to announce the recipients of our 2024 grant program in three categories: Communities Caring for Canopy, Growing Urban Forests in the Face of Emerald Ash Borer and Urban & Community Forestry Grants. All three grant categories are funded through the USDA Forest Service's Urban & Community Forestry Program.
Communities Caring for Canopy
Nine recipients have received funding for a variety of activities to strategically move a local tree program forward. This is VT UCF's traditional annual grant program. VT UCF will be awarding just over $75,000 to support the following projects:
North Branch Nature Center (Montpelier): Creating a seed collection and plant propagation nursery for the cultivation of shade trees and edible shrubs planted onsite and at other public places along the North Branch of the Winooski River.
Town of Brandon: Tree planting and maintenance as part of a long-term urban canopy management plan.
Town of Ferrisburgh: Tree planting and community outreach in alignment with a newly developed Shade Tree Preservation Plan.
Town of Hartford: Invasive species removal, riparian restoration, and establishment of a community arboretum at a municipal park.
Town of Jericho: Conduct a municipal ash tree inventory and establish a municipal tree nursery.
Town of Groton: Tree planting and maintenance on municipal properties.
Town of Panton: Ash tree removal and tree planting to re-establish a healthy roadside canopy.
Town of Rochester: Tree planting and maintenance in a village park.
Town of Waterbury: Tree pruning and maintenance in parks and cemeteries and expansion of municipal tree inventory.
Growing Urban Forests in the Face of Emerald Ash Borer
With special funding, this competitive grant opportunity will support resilient urban and community forests. Seven recipients have received funding specifically for mitigation of the impacts of emerald ash borer through ash removal within a 1-mile radius of Agency and Commerce & Community Development designated areas and replanting trees of species other than ash throughout the community. VT UCF will be awarding $126,000 to support the following projects:
City of Essex Junction: Ash tree removal and replacement planting on municipal land in accordance with Emerald Ash Borer plan.
Town of Arlington: Ash tree removal and replacement planting near town center.
Town of Colchester: Ash tree removal and replacement planting on municipal land, implementing Emerald Ash Borer plan.
Town of East Montpelier: Ash tree removal and replacement planting, implementing Ash Tree Management plan.
Town of Strafford: Ash tree removal and replacement planting in village center.
Town of Shelburne: Ash tree removal and replacement planting, implementing Emerald Ash Borer plan.
Town of Williston: Ash tree removal and replacement planting on municipal land, implementing Emerald Ash Borer plan.
Urban & Community Forestry Grants
Funded through an unprecedented one-time allocation from the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, this category will support work to increase and maintain a healthy urban canopy and access to nature. All projects must take place in or directly serve under-resourced communities, which are census tracts included in one or more of the following datasets:
- The federal Council on Environmental Quality’s Climate & Economic Justice Screening Tool
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Opportunity Zones dataset
- The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s dataset for low to moderate income (LMI) areas.
VT UCF will be awarding $510,000 to support the following twelve projects:
Burlington Wildways and Winooski Valley Parks District: Expand the successful school-based tree nursery pilot to additional schools in the Burlington School District, engaging students in growing trees to be planted locally.
Edible Brattleboro: Create a food forest on a vacant lot and tree guilds at downtown sites, expand a network of gardens that provide locally-grown organic food, shade and heat mitigation, erosion control and beauty to the urban canopy, and conduct community outreach and community trainings.
City of Montpelier: Enhance a 1-mile long universally accessible trail along the North Branch of the Winooski River through plantings to create a food forest, employ local youth to complete a comprehensive update of the municipal tree inventory and establish new community tree nursery after the July 2023 floods destroyed the existing one, and plant 100 trees grown in the nursery out into under-resourced areas of the city.
City of Vergennes: Ash tree removal and replacement in specific neighborhoods, community outreach, purchasing equipment and training staff to increase municipal capacity to maintain community trees.
Town of Bristol: Address deferred tree removals and maintenance, plant new trees on municipal property, purchase equipment to increase municipal capacity to maintain trees, particularly focused on sustainable irrigation for newly planted trees.
Town of Brattleboro: Create comprehensive management plan for town trees. Train town staff. Address deferred tree removals and maintenance. Plant trees and implement recommendations in the management plan.
Town of Chester: Continue to implement street tree management plan with maintenance, removal, and tree planting components. Purchase equipment to support municipal capacity to maintain and water town trees.
Town of Hinesburg: Planting 50 trees to launch the transformation of 2.6 acres of town-owned land in Hinesburg into the long-envisioned Town Common. The project includes demonstration, tree maintenance in surrounding neighborhoods, tree planting, volunteer engagement, and community outreach.
Town of Johnson: Improve capacity for sustainable maintenance of trees and plants the Johnson Arboretum with a focus on irrigation, expand the Johnson Arboretum’s economic potential through signage and seating, and replace outsized grates on downtown street trees.
Town of Middlebury: Develop a comprehensive Urban Forest Management Plan and update town's municipal tree inventory in tandem with planning and implementing a large tree planting project at a town-owned property. Engage the community in both project components.
Town of Royalton: Conduct a comprehensive town ash inventory as a first step towards preparing for the impact of emerald ash borer.
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps: Establish a pilot Conservation Forestry work crew that will receive forestry and urban forestry training and engage in a two-year urban forest management project on 18 acres of Oakledge Park in Burlington.