Article from Nebraska Today

The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum has received a five-year, $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to strengthen Nebraska’s urban forest infrastructure in disadvantaged communities across the state. The arboretum aims to accomplish this through tree plantings, tree maintenance and removal, and workforce development.

The grant is one of 385 awards nationwide totaling more than $1 billion, made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act. The primary aims of the grant are to plant and maintain trees, combat extreme heat and climate change, and increase equitable access to trees and their benefits. The work will align with the Justice40 initiative, which aims to bring resources to disadvantaged communities most impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental hazards.

Programs will include the removal of trees, among them ash trees infected with emerald ash borer, in both private and public landscapes; tree plantings to mitigate urban heat in qualifying communities; and workforce training programs to increase the number of certified arborists and other tree care professionals.

The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum has more than 45 years of experience providing green infrastructure, technical, educational and grant assistance to rural and urban communities. It is one of only three entities in the state to receive this federal funding.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be awarded this significant grant, which will profoundly impact the health, safety and well-being of thousands of Nebraskans in communities across the state,” said Hanna Pinneo, executive director of the arboretum. “This investment will not only help to create greener cities and towns, it will also expand access to green space in previously underserved communities and create more jobs in the tree care industry, which will, in turn, deliver tangible economic benefits to Nebraskans for years to come.”

Nebraska State Forester John Erixson said: “Community forests benefit all Nebraskans by protecting our homes, cleaning air and water and mitigating heat islands in urban settings. This level of investment will be transformative for Nebraska’s communities and all of us who live in the community forest.”