Spreading the wealth of nature

With grant funding support from Metro Public Health Department, the affordable housing nonprofit Be a Helping Hand and Root Nashville are partnering to launch a new planting initiative in North Nashville on BHH properties.

This planting kicks off Be a Helping Hand’s new “Spreading the Wealth of Nature” program. Through the grant, trees will also be planted in the neighborhood at Hull Jackson Montessori School. Click here if you would like to volunteer to plant trees as part of this project on February 15.

Learn more about this initiative with our partners at Be a Helping Hand by clicking here, or reading their text below:

From Be a Helping Hand:

Be a Helping Hand is proud to announce a new community tree planting initiative with Root Nashville, with initial start-up support from the Metro Public Health Department. Together, we will prioritize our most valuable climate solution – TREES! This partnership focuses planting efforts at our affordable housing sites, starting with North Nashville and expanding into other neighborhoods, in order to improve the health of our communities and provide a natural climate solution.

Tree planting will kick off in North Nashville on Saturday, February 15. This first planting of the initiative is just the beginning of the partnership between Be a Helping Hand and Root Nashville. Tree planting will continue throughout upcoming planting seasons and in various neighborhoods across the county where we have affordable housing. Be a Helping Hand and Root Nashville are also exploring other methods of greening for public health and the health of our planet.

Studies have shown that green space and access to nature are vital to health and well-being. Our partnership developed in response to the increasing disparities in housing along economic lines, which have resulted in documented “hot spots” of temperatures up to 5-17 degrees higher than surrounding rural, wooded areas, due to lack of green space. This heat disparity has a dramatic effect on health and quality of life. In addition, neighborhoods with a lack of trees and tree shade are typically populated by African American and immigrant communities (Racist Housing Practices From The 1930s Linked To Hotter Neighborhoods Today, NPR).

The health of our environment and our quality of life are intertwined. Trees provide so many essential benefits to our livelihood and are a natural climate solution.

  • Environmental benefits: Trees remove carbon dioxide out of the air, produce oxygen, reduce air pollution, cool the climate, and reduce erosion and flooding. Trees also help to improve water quality and provide food and habitat for numerous species of wildlife.
  • Economic benefits: Trees reduce energy bills due to their cooling and wind protection effects, create a more attractive environment which improves property values. With a more inviting atmosphere, trees also increase community pride and customer base.
  • Social benefits: Trees reduce crime and violence, provide a sense of security, ease mental fatigue, and create feelings of relaxation and well-being. They also provide noise reduction, help alleviate ADD and asthma, and encourage physical activity. Trees increase overall quality of life by encouraging people out of their homes and into natural open space, where they are more likely to interact with others and build stronger social relationships.

In addition, as part of the Metro Public Health Department grant, trees will also be planted at the Hull Jackson Montessori School, in the same North Nashville neighborhood as the Be a Helping Hand properties. This additional planting site will compound the benefits of trees for many of our residents’ children, and for the neighborhood as a whole.

Be a Helping Hand is a nonprofit affordable housing organization focused on underserved communities in North Nashville and the surrounding metropolitan areas. Your support of Be a Helping Hand will help us continue to provide affordable housing to our Nashville neighbors in need and ensures that greening efforts like this tree planting initiative can continue and expand. Click here to support our mission and our continued efforts to improve community livability. 

This initiative works in accord with the Livable Nashville Committee and the Root Nashville goal to plant 500,000 trees in Davidson County by 2050. The Root Nashville campaign is a public-private partnership led by the Cumberland River Compact and Metro Nashville. Their goal is to restore and grow our city’s precious tree canopy, which is in decline due to Nashville’s unprecedented growth. We urge other affordable housing nonprofits and developers to take action and to join us in being part of the climate solution by committing to planting trees on new and existing properties. Visit rootnashville.org to learn more.

Thank you Root Nashville and the Public Health Department for making our idea of this program come to fruition! We look forward to continuing this partnership and growing our city in a green way. 

More information about the grant and project:

The Tennessee Department of Health has provided local communities with funding designed to improve population health outcomes that will increase access to attractive, safe, and tobacco-free places in the local communities. This funding, the Access to Health through Healthy Active Built Environments grant, will offer opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating for a diverse and inclusive group of users in the community by enhancing the built environment of public places in local communities. The Metro Health in All Policies Coordinators determined that the Nashville funds would be best used by partnering with Root Nashville. By planting trees and providing tree canopy, we are providing cleaner air, water, and cooler neighborhoods. This grant will also provide opportunity for community members to learn about the health benefits of tree canopy and tree preservation.

The Metro Public Health Department and Root Nashville conducted a “Community Conversation: Where to Plant Trees” community engagement session in December, to hear from residents about where they would like to see trees planted. Attendees cited North Nashville as a particular area of interest.

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