Planting at Places of Worship

What do Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ, Claiborne Family of Faith Worship Center, and Bethel Church of the Nazarene all have in common? Newly planted trees!

Did you know that the huge majority of land in Nashville – 94% – is privately-owned? A large portion of that percentage includes all kinds of places of worship: churches, synagogues, temples, and more. In support of the citywide Root Nashville campaign, the Cumberland River Compact is targeting private property – and next season, especially in partnership with places of worship.
Check out these three church planting project highlights from last season, and encourage your neighborhood place of worship to apply for free trees here.

You have likely seen the historic, beautiful Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ; it’s right on the corner of 2nd Avenue South and I-40, a busy intersection near downtown. Built in 1895, the building is an iconic site in Nashville, bringing beauty to the area. Last season, the church built upon this beauty by planting 36 new trees!

“The restoration of the building has been ongoing for the last 10 years, and in the last year we decided that it was important to modify the exterior landscaping so that it would better represent the landscaping that would have existed 100 years ago,” said project organizer Steve Garrett. “In the back of the building, which backs up to I-40, our goal was to create a natural area along an interstate chain link fence – so that it aesthetically looks better but so that it would also provide some more inner city vegetation for this area.”

Lindsley Avenue selected serviceberries (understory native fruit tree) and sweetbay magnolias (understory native semi-evergreen) for their project.

In the heart of the Napier community in south Nashville, Claiborne Family of Faith Worship Center provides a common area and gathering space. Neighborhood Planting Captain Jaffee Judah, who focuses his outreach in Napier, utilized the church as a recruiting site for the neighborhood (pictured above). It was also the site of the Recycle & Reinvest Block Party in October 2022 – when the first tree was planted.

Overall, on the church site and its adjacent property, 25 new trees were added to the neighborhood canopy: a mix of blackgum, serviceberry, and sweetbay magnolia. These trees are also watered weekly and maintained by the Tree Care Team at the Cumberland River Compact. Special thanks to Jaffee Judah for opening the door and encouraging the church to participate, and to Pastor Judy Johnson for her collaboration and partnership on the project!

Over in east Nashville, after tree advocate Dorothy Holman shared the tree sign-up information with the Bethel Church of the Nazarene, Pastor Joe Drake was quick to jump on the opportunity.

“As pastor, I believe in outreach. And a great opportunity is people driving by and seeing the beauty of the trees – then people ask us about them. The neighborhood has reached out and asked us about the trees. We tell them that Root Nashville can hook you up! We are connected with the neighborhood association in the area and we love those relationships,” said Pastor Drake. “Bethel is known as a recovery church; we’ll have 40-60 recovering men and women here with us on any given Sunday and we work with 14 different recovery houses. Many of them showed up on the day we planted the trees and got involved in giving back to the community – building beauty amongst the destruction and chaos that is so often within their lives.”

The planting plan includes a row of ornamental, flowering Jane magnolias along the front entryway, and large, canopy trees strategically planted throughout the property to create maximum shade.

“I want to thank Root Nashville for the incredibly beautiful trees that they donated to us. It has absolutely brought a sense of beauty to our property and to the neighborhood, and it helps create oxygen for our world. I’m so thankful for the gift and for the gift of God’s creation being planted here on our property,” said Pastor Drake. “We’re about life, and seeing these trees bloom and leaf out, it was just perfect. Pastors and other churches should also get involved because it’s a way to engage in your community, to beautify your community, and to be a source of peace and calm. We have neighbors that come by and just walk around and hang out in the shade.”

The 34 new trees on the site are also under the watering purview of the Tree Care Team, also completely free. Certain new applicants interested in a large number of trees planted may also qualify for these free watering services.

Planning takes place over the spring and summer for trees that are planted in the fall or winter. Encourage private property sites in your neighborhood to apply for free trees here! We are always looking for more planting sites.

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