Treez Please is an all-volunteer organization in Youngstown, Ohio, that works with neighborhood groups, homeowners, and the city to increase native plant diversity and regenerate natural communities. Our goal is to reinvigorate the natural environments that offer aesthetic enjoyment, provide food for pollinators, birds and other wildlife, and ultimately support the health of our community.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Treez Please was founded in 2007 as a community reforestation project in Youngstown, Ohio, and since then, we have planted close to 300 trees in the city, almost all of them native species. Most of these are large shade trees that have been planted with the consent of homeowners and, in the case of street trees, in consultation with the city’s Parks Department.
The organization is all-volunteer and is financed entirely by private donations and grants, with the major grantor being the Raymond John Wean Foundation, www.rjweanfdn.org. We have worked with other non-profit and neighborhood groups in the city that also wish to help ‘green’ the urban landscape.
Early on, Treez Please acquired two adjoining vacant lots on the corner of Broadway and Kensington Avenues on the city’s North Side. We have used this space as a public demonstration area to show how we might transform the city’s many housing demolition sites into natural areas over time–areas that would not require mowing and its accompanying costs, both in work hours and carbon footprint, and would contribute to the aesthetic and environmental value of urban spaces.
Although native and meadow plantings have been part of our efforts since the organization was started, planting specifically to benefit pollinators—bees, butterflies, wasps, hummingbirds—is a new emphasis. Thanks to Douglas Tallamy and his book, Bringing Nature Home, we have been able to see the larger goal of ecosystem restoration—in other words, planting locally native trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses that will help to restore the habitat that ultimately nurtures us all.