By Catherine Martineau on March 7, 2016
In January, Canopy kicked off our 20th year growing healthy trees and healthy communities by celebrating with more than 150 friends at our annual party (see photos) at the Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto.
Palo Alto’s new Mayor, Pat Burt, and Santa Clara Supervisor Joe Simitian were both honored with ceremonial trees, which will continue to grace the lawn at Lucie Stern. Our 2016 Canopy Tree Award winners received well-deserved awards for their contributions to the urban forest.
We also took a moment to thank our friends and supporters for all that they’ve made possible over the last two decades.
Since 1996, Canopy has grown from a small group of dedicated Palo Alto residents into a sector-leading independent nonprofit with a regional vision: a day when every resident of the Mid-Peninsula can step outside to walk, play, and thrive under the shade of healthy trees.
Thanks to our volunteers and supporters, we’re already bringing this vision to life. Through planting, tree care, education and advocacy, we’ve helped Palo Alto become a national example of a city that cares for its trees, and reaps the benefits of a vibrant urban forest.
10 years ago, we put down roots in neighboring East Palo Alto, and have since planted over 2,000 trees in East Palo Alto schools, parks and neighborhoods, transforming barren streets and schoolyards into welcoming environments full of nature and greenery.
Through tree walks, workshops, lectures, school programs, and more, we’ve equipped thousands of youth and adults to plant and care for urban trees, and inspired a new generation of nature stewards.
All of this has been possible thanks to our dedicated volunteers, donors, Board members, advisors, staff, and partners, all working together.
We’re proud of these achievements, but we know our work isn’t done yet.
With our partners by our side, we’re ready to tackle new challenges with the same determination and team spirit that got us where we are today.
2015 saw a tipping point for the global environment, from Pope Francis’ encyclical stressing our moral imperative to care for the earth to the unprecedented global climate change agreement in Paris. It was also the hottest year on record, with many extreme weather events, including the prolonged drought and wildfires in California.
It was also a critical moment for our local environment. A fourth year of drought took a toll on urban trees and ecosystems, with tree mortality rates shooting up across the Mid-Peninsula.
At the same time, we celebrated a key policy victory when the Palo Alto City Council adopted our region’s first Urban Forest Master Plan. This landmark document provides a blueprint for comprehensive, sustainable management of Palo Alto’s urban forest for decades to come.
In the face of these new challenges and opportunities, collaboration is key. To successfully fight climate change and steward our shared natural resources, we must work together–across disciplines, sectors, and geographic boundaries.
As our region becomes increasingly urbanized, trees have a unique and powerful role to play in creating sustainable, livable cities where people and nature thrive.
For Canopy, this means examining our work through the broader lens of urban sustainability. As our region becomes increasingly urbanized, trees have a unique and powerful role to play in creating sustainable, livable cities where people and nature thrive.
We’re eager to use our deep knowledge of the urban forest to enhance and sustain the whole urban ecosystem. But we can’t do it alone. We’re reaching out to new partners whose strengths and expertise complement our own. With their help–and with yours–we’ve got big plans for the next few years.
In the next few years, we commit to:
The continued health of our urban trees, our environment, and our planet depends on the commitment of all of us working together.
Thanks to all of you for being part of the solution!