On October 7 and 8, 2016, Hurricane Matthew pounded Georgia coastal counties with wind gusts felt 50 miles inland, and Savannah and Tybee Island experiencing 71-96 miles per hour winds. The Georgia Forestry Commission surveyed the damage and storm-generated tree debris left, finding the highest amount of damage in Chatham County. But other communities experienced damage as well, urban areas with the greatest canopy suffered the most tree loss. In Statesboro, for example, over a thousand trees were affected.
In January, 2017, 41 confirmed tornadoes struck the state of Georgia in one 36-hour period. The south Georgia area was especially devastated. The Dougherty-Worth-Turner-Wilcox tornado, for example, was a mile wide and travelled 70 miles. But other communities were affected as well, from Albany and beyond. Over 5000 acres of urban trees were affected.
In April, 2011, tornadoes struck many southern U.S. states, taking lives and destroying homes, businesses, and city infrastructure – including thriving community trees. To help restore the many environmental, economic, and social health benefits that trees provided in these storm-struck Georgia communities, the Georgia Urban Forest Council (GUFC), in cooperation with the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC), established the Georgia ReLeaf program to bring urban forests back to life by planting trees in public areas such as parks, schools, main streets, and business districts.
In addition to tree planting for canopy restoration, the Georgia ReLeaf program also makes funding available for tree planting projects benefitting or involving our military veterans who have served our country. Examples of projects in this category can include tree planting at facilities such as veterans hospitals, memorial parks, and rehabilitation centers or other tree planting projects that involve veterans in the project implementation.
For a list of previous Georgia ReLeaf grantees, click here.
Become a Sponsor!
Would your company like to become a sponsor of the Georgia ReLeaf program and help Georgia communities replant trees lost to storms or plant trees for veterans?
Call 470-210-5900 for more information on becoming a sponsor. Georgia ReLeaf sponsors are recognized on the GUFC website and in electronic and printed information.
Thank you to the Georgia Pacific Foundation, the Georgia Power Company, Effortless Outdoor Media, Goosebumps Productions/Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Lawrenceville Woman’s Club and numerous individual donors for your contributions to Georgia ReLeaf over the years.