TEMPE’S URBAN FOREST: GRANTS AND DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS
Public Works staff, partners and volunteers completed 3 tree planting events in 2017 that were concurrent with finalizing the Urban Forestry Master Plan. These projects align with Council priorities:
- #2, Strong Community Connections
- #3, Quality of Life
- #4, Sustainable Growth & Development
- #5, Financial Stability & Vitality
These volunteer tree planting events support the Council strategic goal of 25% tree canopy coverage and reinforce many of the principles of the Urban Forestry Master Plan, and demonstrate:
• Shading sidewalks and paths, cooling people and reducing radiated heat from hard surfaces
• Planting a diverse collection of trees, including species that provide broad canopies and color
• Right tree/right place, supporting tree health and growth
• Proper irrigation, including second layer drips that encourage root growth for a more stable tree
• Educational opportunities, sharing best practices with neighborhoods and volunteers
• Equity, adding trees where shade is needed
• Adding sustainable value to city parks (environmental, social, financial)
On April 29, 2017, we planted 42 trees in this neighborhood park, with volunteers from the community and ASU. This was the first carbon offsets planting, a collaboration of the City of Tempe and Duke University, ASU, and Urban Offsets. The event included a ‘tree planting celebration.’ Local participation included 49 volunteers from the community and ASU. generating 122.5 hours of volunteer labor. Parks staff provided a demonstration of proper planting and information on recommended irrigation practices.
GRANTS: ASU, URBAN OFFSETS, DUKE UNIVERSITY, PRIVATE DONATION
Svob Park, built in 1984, was named in honor of Robert M. “Bob” Svob. From 1931 until his retirement in 1975, Bob was responsible for ASU campus beautification efforts. The numerous trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens are largely the result of Bob’s devotion and care to the aesthetic of the campus. Bob also served two terms as a Tempe City Councilman from 1960-68, helping shape the growth and development of Tempe while always keeping an eye towards maintaining quality landscaping in the community.
Rotary International offered to plant trees in Tempe as part of the organization’s tree initiative, which includes planting one tree for every Rotarian, around the world. Svob Park was selected for this project in part because a large area of the park receives flood irrigation.
On November 18, 2017 approximately 110 volunteers planted 105 trees (15-gallon). The grant also funded 10 – 24” box trees, planted by Parks staff. The tree species selected for the flood irrigated portion of the park provide a broad canopy on the perimeter of the playfield. The balance of trees will use drip irrigation, providing shade for walks and play areas.
The event was lively and fun, with food and refreshments provided by Rotary. We were surprised to learn that Dr. Svob’s grandson flew in from California to plant a few trees; he shared a bit of Tempe’s history and his grandfather’s interest in Tempe’s parks. Another guest was Santa Claus, providing photo ops for kids by the newly planted pine trees.
GRANT: ROTARY INTERNATIONAL
RIO SALADO PARK
The American Forests Community Releaf grant assists our city in developing a healthy urban forest, through:
- A scientific analysis, which can be an urban tree canopy assessment, a community survey, support for a tree inventory, or a restoration site impact analysis;
- Tree canopy / green space restoration in a high-need area;
- Tools and support for local policy and outreach to help establish long-term tree canopy management infrastructure.
On October 28, 2017, approximately 140 volunteers planted 102 trees (15-gallon). Staff managed the installation of drip irrigation, funded by the grant, and planted an additional 26 - 24” box trees. The community event included breakfast and plenty of water.
Partners supporting and attending included the City of Tempe, Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability, Walton Sustainable Solutions Initiative, American Forests, Bank of America, and Duke/Urban Offsets/ASU. Some of the groups attending included the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Rotary International, and employees of DHL Express Corporate Office.
ASU Sustainability Scientists David Hondula and Ariane Middel are working under this grant to evaluate how the planting of new trees in the Rio Salado Art Park will impact the thermal environment, thermal comfort, and park use and satisfaction. This first phase of the Thermal Comfort Assessment will be completed by the end of 2020.
Additionally, this Community ReLeaf Grant will allow Tempe to restore the ‘Grove of Cities,’ donated and planted in 1997 by cities and towns of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns. This Grove is located on the southwest corner of Rio Salado Boulevard and Hardy Drive. It was designed in the shape of the State of Arizona, and the cities were identified by the tree they provided. Currently only 20 of the 57 original trees remain. Future phases of the park may include demonstration gardens and an LID installation to illustrate water collection and reuse. Educational signage will inform residents about appropriate species, irrigation, and tree care.
The final planting will be installed at Moeur Park, on Mill Avenue at the Washington St./Curry intersection. Arizona tourism provided the impetus for roadside beautification in the 1930s, when Mill Avenue was the US 89 Highway. This historic park was created during the New Deal era, as a WPA project, providing a rest stop with shade and picnic tables. These new trees will provide shade and cooling along the sidewalk on Mill Avenue to encourage pedestrian access to the park and beautify the area.
GRANT: AMERICAN FORESTS COMMUNITY RELEAF, BANK OF AMERICA, DUKE UNIVERSITY, URBAN OFFSETS, ASU GLOBAL INSTITUTE OF SUSTAINABILITY, WALTON SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS INITIATIVE