In honor of Arbor Day on April 30, 2021, Bartlett Tree Experts, Stamford, Connecticut, gave away more than 15,000 tree seedlings in communities across the U.S. These trees were distributed as part of the Bartlett Legacy Tree Program, which has distributed over 436,000 tree seedlings since its inception seven years ago.
The Legacy Tree Program, celebrating its seventh anniversary, was established by Bartlett Tree Experts in 2014 to support tree planting and stewardship in local communities through the annual distribution of seedlings in schools, at events and to reforestation efforts. In 2021, more than 50,000 trees will be distributed by Bartlett Tree Experts employees through the program. More than one-third of those seedlings are handed out or planted in the spring, primarily as part of Arbor Day and Earth Day festivities, events and activities in a variety of locations.
“We encourage each of our arborist representatives to distribute a minimum of 100 seedlings each year, and many are so enthusiastic about the program that they go far beyond that number,” says Bartlett’s Patrick Franklin, who manages the program. “Our arborists enjoy interacting with the public and love teaching people about the importance of planting trees. They also decide how their trees will be distributed. It’s an amazing way to bring trees and people together, while making a difference to improve our environment.”
With all of Bartlett’s 120-plus offices participating in the program over the last seven years, the seedlings have been given away in over 30 U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and numerous locations in greater London in the United Kingdom, as well as Dublin, Ireland. Most community-based Arbor Day events were cancelled last year because of COVID-19, prompting Bartlett Arborist Representatives to get creative in distributing seedlings. Many events have resumed for 2021 with social distancing guidelines in place.
As in years past, seedlings were personally distributed by Bartlett Tree Experts in recognition of Arbor Day to students, community groups and local reforestation efforts. This year, Bartlett distributed seedlings for reforestation in Malden, Washington. The small town south of Spokane in eastern Washington was left in ruins after fast-moving wildfire swept through the region last year.
“We have always been involved in the planting of trees after natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, droughts and wildfires, as well as to help the urban tree canopy,” says Franklin. “We’ve helped plant white oaks to restore the West Linn Savanna in Oregon and we have been planting trees as part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, a four-state, 180-mile-long region running from Gettysburg to Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia. These are the kinds of projects that our arborists have been involved with as part of the Legacy Tree Program.”
The tree seedlings being distributed include a variety of native species, such as ponderosa pine, redbud and dogwood. Species selection varies by geographic region with a focus on increasing the local diversity of native tree populations.