|Contact: Jessica T. Brown, TreeFolks
Telephone: (512) 443-5323
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2018
“Problem tree? No problem!” say Council Members Alison Alter and Leslie Pool, TreeFolks
Local nonprofit launches pilot programs to remove hazardous trees for low-income homeowners and provide summer tree watering and youth environmental education
Austin, TX, April 16, 2018– When a neighborhood tree grew into the power line, Cecilia Smith called the utility. But when another threatened to fall on her bedroom, she needed a different solution.
“I don’t sleep back there anymore,” said Austin homeowner Cecilia Smith. “I’ve just been waiting for someone to do it right.”
Remove and Replace does it right for Ms. Smith and other qualified City of Austin residents. Developed by Austin City Council Members Alison Alter and Leslie Pool and urban forestry non-profit TreeFolks, the pilot program provides low-income Austin residents with expert assessment, removal and replacement of hazardous trees – at no charge.
“Removing problem trees safely can be prohibitively expensive for some of our residents,” said Council Member Alter. “The Remove and Replace program is a great example of how environmental and affordability efforts can work together to keep Austin’s urban forest safe and beautiful while also helping people stay in their homes.”
The drought of 2011 weakened the Central Texas tree canopy, stressing trees and making them vulnerable to disease. Damaged trees may drop limbs, suffer from leaf die back, or start to lean, potentially threatening property. A certified arborist has the training and skills to assess and safely remove the hazard.
“We can replace a dangerous tree with a young, healthy native that is well adapted to our growing conditions,” said Thaïs Perkins, TreeFolks executive director. “We are committed to keeping Austin green and growing for years to come.”
To qualify for free tree removal and replacement, Austin residents must own their own home and meet federal low-income requirements. Upon request, TreeFolks will dispatch a certified arborist to assess the tree and schedule removal. Free replacement trees will be distributed for the fall planting season.
Austin Environmental Heroes
Long, hot summer days are tough on trees. They’re not so easy on teens without a job, either. A second TreeFolks initiative, Austin Environmental Heroes, addresses both challenges by hiring and training high school students to care for trees in Austin parks this summer. Students will also learn about the environment and gain insight into the green jobs sector.
Students will earn a $350 stipend to water saplings and test water quality one day per week. Adventure programming like swimming, kayaking, and camping will round out the schedule. The program runs from June 18 – August 3, requires a two day/week commitment, and is available to all Austin-area students.
The program is funded through the City of Austin Tree Mitigation Fund. Visit treefolkstest.wpengine.com to apply.
Founded in 1989, TreeFolks is Central Texas’s urban forestry nonprofit. TreeFolks volunteers and staff have planted 2.5 million trees in Central Texas. Programs include community tree planting and care events in Austin’s parks and greenbelts; post-wildfire reforestation of private land in Bastrop County (2.2 million pines planted); post-flood reforestation of private land along the Blanco River in Hays County; free trees for Austin area homeowners; and tree education.