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National Arbor Day 2023: Let’s Plant Trees!

City highlights the role of trees for Downtown beauty, economic benefits, and climate resilience.

April 28, 2023

The Parks and Recreation Department celebrated National Arbor Day 2023 with a “Let’s Plant Albuquerque” tree planting and tree giveaway event that showcased how trees can improve Downtown. Parks & Recreation (PRD) and the Solid Waste Department planted 13 street trees along Central and gave away 80 trees to engage the local community as part of the Downtown Forward Plan.  PRD unveiled a Downtown tree inventory project/planting plan and explained how trees can improve economic activity and provide cooling to Downtown and other areas in Albuquerque’s urban core.

“Adjusting the heat element is important, but also showing the love and investment into the community we all care about and how important it is to the greater Albuquerque area,” said Lola Bird, a member of Downtown Albuquerque Mainstreet. “When people see trees, they see an investment. They see a place they want to live in, be educated in and exist in.”

Restoring Albuquerque’s urban canopy with tree planting and better tree care has numerous benefits.  Trees:  beautify space; cool the streets and the City; clean the air; conserve energy; create economic opportunities; provide oxygen; prevent water pollution and soil erosion; shield children from ultra-violet rays; reduce violence; and combat climate change, extreme heat and drought.  In addition, of particular importance for Downtown Albuquerque, evidence shows that the business environment is better and economic activity is higher in areas with more trees and green space.

“Planting trees is great for both business and livability Downtown,” said PRD Director Dave Simon. “Through City efforts and partnerships, our goal is to plant a tree in every good spot Downtown that we can during the Let’s Plant Albuquerque campaign.”

Simon described how the PRD Forestry Division and partners have started an inventory of existing trees and potential tree planting locations throughout Downtown. 75% of the downtown area has been evaluated so far, and a total of 2,402 data points were collected; 1,594 are existing trees within downtown and the other 808 are potential planting sites. The trees that were planted fell within the Downtown Forward Plan boundaries (Broadway to 12th and Coal to Lomas).

City Forester Sean O’Neill explained how Downtown tree planting can mitigate heat effects. Since data suggests that the greater downtown area is one of the hotter zones of the City because of the level of hardscape, every tree planted within the area can have a cooling effect of up to 10 degrees F.

“Planting trees is a gift from one generation to the next, and we’re establishing roots to ensure a greener future for everyone in our community,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Growing our tree canopy in the city helps offset the effects of climate change.”

Incentives are available for tree planting. To take the pledge to plant, or learn more about tree planting, tree care, and planting incentives, visit the Let's Plant website.