Neighborhood Planting Captain: Ebony Jackson

Ebony is a past planting captain for her neighborhood of Madison, and shared about her experience bringing free trees to her area.

Blog written by AmeriCorps service member Tyrah Cobb-Davis, after conducting an interview with Ebony

What made you get involved in the program?

Ebony was a Root Nashville tree recipient in the past — but she didn’t want to be the only nearby neighbor receiving trees.

“I decided to apply to be a Neighborhood Planting Captain for my community. I wanted others to have the same opportunity!” she said.

She was initially drawn to the program as a participant because of certain species that were offered — the red maples and magnolia trees caught her eye and reminded her of home. As a Mississippi native, she was drawn to the magnolia because the state flower is a magnolia. 

“There is just something about the beautiful white blossoms that bring about happiness,” she said.

How did the neighborhood respond?

Ebony lives in Cumberland Station in Madison, which is a neighborhood with a homeowners association (HOA). As a past HOA board member, Ebony brought the group on board with the free tree opportunity, and the group helped get the word out.

Initially, some neighbors weren’t sure about receiving large, free trees, delivered to their yards for tree. It seemed too good to be true.

“At the beginning, some neighbors were actually skeptical of it — wondering if this is true or a scam,” Ebony said, laughing.

But once learning more about the program and the Root Nashville campaign goal, more and more neighbors started signing up. The area is a relatively new development that is lacking canopy cover, Ebony said, and so trees through the Neighborhood Planting Captain program allowed for homeowners to restore canopy — especially in backyards.

What was Ebony’s favorite part of being a Neighborhood Planting Captain?

Yes, we’re all about getting new trees planted in the Root Nashville campaign. But in so many neighborhoods, increased social ties and a strengthened sense of community are indirect outcomes. What do we often hear from our Neighborhood Planting Captains? That the program allowed them to interact and connect with their neighbors, especially during a time when getting out and being social is tough. 

The same was true for Ebony. She shared that she really loved getting to create new connections with her neighbors, and that participating as a planting captain gave her an opportunity to learn about different types of trees.

How can you get involved?

“I absolutely love my trees,” Ebony said. “Everyone in my neighborhood is so grateful that they had the opportunity to participate.”

Interested in having this experience? Neighborhood Planting Captain applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more about the program and how you can apply.

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