President of the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed, in conjunction with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, has initiated “Plant for Peace” and he is calling on groups around the region to participate in what’s being billed as one of the largest honorary tree planting efforts of its kind. On Sunday, October 5th community members join together to “Plant for Peace” to celebrate togetherness and unity in response to unrest following the tragic shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson last month.
Reed, whose office launched the website Plant4PeaceSTL.org, has partnered with Forest ReLeaf to make available at no cost over 500 trees of various native species for the event, which he hopes will be viewed as an expression of solidarity and offer a moment of community reflection. “Tree plantings are a time-honored response to tragedies,” said Reed. “Events like these, where neighbors are engaging in peaceful, collaborative activities that provide benefits to the community for generations to come, are a part of the solution and important in the healing process.” The website will allow organizations to reserve trees for plantings at public or non-profit sites.
Since 1993 St. Louis-based Forest ReLeaf has planted over 150,000 trees throughout the state. Earlier this year the group was awarded the Arbor Day Foundation’s prestigious “Excellence in Urban Forest Leadership Award” for their “innovative leadership in advancing sustainable community forestry efforts at the local level.” Arbor Day commended the organization for their work in “highest need” communities, including providing more than 5,000 trees in response to the catastrophic 2011 tornado that devastated Joplin, MO.
Michele Wright, North County Liaison and advocate, plans to use the event as an opportunity to engage youth in the Ferguson-Florissant, Jennings and Riverview Gardens districts she serves. "Here we have an opportunity to transcend divisions and instill a sense of ownership among young people in the future of the communities in which they live and learn," said Wright.
According to Donna Coble, Executive Director of Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, “The simple act of planting a tree is a wonderful way to bring people together. Trees provide countless environmental benefits, while also making our communities healthier and safer places to live and work. A tree is a living symbol of strength and hope for the future. Forest ReLeaf is honored to be part of this region-wide healing effort to Plant for Peace."
Interested parties can reserve trees by visiting www.Plant4PeaceSTL.
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