Canopy’s Impact in 2017

This year, we again experienced the power of working together toward a common vision.
Thanks to your support, we expanded tree planting and nature education to new schools and neighborhoods, engaged more youth as Teen Urban Foresters, and worked to remedy local inequities in tree canopy cover and access to urban nature.

With your help, we’ll continue planting trees, advocating for nature-filled neighborhoods, and investing in a greener future. Thank you for partnering with us to grow healthy trees and healthy communities.

Read more of what you made possible in Canopy’s 2017 Impact Report (PDF).

What you made possible:

Growing trees where people need them the most

  • Hosted 45 community tree planting and tree care events across 5 Mid-Peninsula cities.
  • Planted 355 trees in Mid-Peninsula schools, parks, and neighborhoods to increase canopy cover.
  • Tended and surveyed 2,535 young trees to ensure they establish and thrive.
  • Collaborated with partners like San Francisco Estuary Institute and Grassroots Ecology to create greener urban spaces that increase biodiversity, benefiting wildlife, people, and our regional ecosystems.
  • Expanded our work with Mountain View Whisman School District and, in partnership with Living Classroom, secured an Inspire Mountain View grant to create eco-schoolyards at two Mountain View middle schools.

Empowering youth as environmental leaders

  • Invested in education by hiring our first full-time Education Manager, Natalie Brubaker. Natalie brings a rich background in place-based education and a deep passion for fostering creative inquiry about the natural world.
  • Enhanced Canopy’s in-school curriculum, maintaining alignment with Next Generation Science Standards and earning top marks from teachers.
  • Broadened enrichment opportunities for our Teen Urban Foresters (TUFs) with new sessions like hiking in Jasper Ridge to study “how trees plant themselves” and visiting an earth science lab at Stanford.
  • Nurtured knowledge and care for nature through 46 youth education sessions, including a second year of Willow Oaks Junior Foresters.

Advocating for nature-filled neighborhoods

“Canopy is a shining example of what can be done in a short, yet committed, 20 years. Commendable and remarkable. Canopy has established a lasting benefit of safekeeping Palo Alto’s beautiful trees now and for generations.”

– Shirin Coleman, Community Advocate

  • Partnered with Santa Clara County to spread the word about proper tree care and watering.
  • Advanced key programs of the Palo Alto Urban Forest Master Plan, working alongside the City and community partners to increase canopy cover in south Palo Alto, develop a digital tree mapping solution, and prepare for re-oaking efforts.
  • Protected funding for urban forest management in Palo Alto. Without Canopy’s advocacy, the pruning cycle would have been lengthened, threatening the health and beauty of the urban canopy.


Engaging residents for long-lasting impact

  • Equipped residents through free hands-on workshops, on-the-ground outreach, and updated online tools like the Arborist List and Canopy Tree Library.
  • Recruited and trained 86 households to steward newly planted street and yard trees.
  • Inspired over 750 people to discover and celebrate trees at the 2017 Community Arbor Day Festival.
  • Engaged over 700 youth and adults through 25 interactive neighborhood tree walks.
  • Prepared to launch the Great Oak Count and interactive digital tree mapping tool.

In all, over 5,000 people (including 1,700+ youth!) attended or volunteered for a Canopy workshop, lesson, training, celebration, or service day in FY 2017. A big thank you to everyone who grows and sustains our local urban forest!

Join us 2018 and beyond!

New tools for a new generation

After extensive research, Canopy and City of Palo Alto selected a digital tree mapping tool called Tree Plotter, with a customized public map launching in fall 2017. This interactive tool will help Canopy and the City track and share tree planting and tree care activities, and enable residents to explore, learn, and contribute to urban forest data.

Citizen science and The Great Oak Count

Renewing oak populations in our urban landscapes promises a host of benefits for people, wildlife, regional ecology, and landscape resilience. As a first step towards “re-oaking” efforts, Canopy and partners are launching The Great Oak Count, an update to Canopy’s 2002 Oakwell Survey. This people-powered citizen science effort will map changes in native oak populations over the last two decades, and provide invaluable data to guide researchers, conservationists, and policymakers.

Amplifying our voice for urban nature

As the rapid pace of development continues in our region, we need strong voices urging planners and policymakers to make room for nature in our cities while also addressing the housing crisis. As part of our new strategic plan, Canopy will leverage existing partnerships, form an advocacy advisory council, and invest in new mechanisms to deepen our long-term impact. Our goal is to ensure local communities protect and prioritize nature in every neighborhood.

Strengthening local tree ordinances

In 2018, Palo Alto will review and update its Tree Protection Ordinance and Tree Technical Manual, both adopted in 1997 thanks to efforts by Canopy’s early community advocates. Canopy is working with the City and conservation partners to ensure the new ordinances are prudent, robust, effective, and enforceable.

The City of East Palo Alto is creating a new Development Code. Canopy is reviewing the draft code to help ensure new policies support healthy, green, tree-filled neighborhoods.

And of course…more trees!

As we continue progress on our Healthy Trees, Healthy Kids! Initiative, we’re gearing up for another big planting season. In 2018, you’ll find us increasing canopy cover in south Palo Alto neighborhoods, planting new school trees and landscape plants in Mountain View, working with residents to plant and care for East Palo Alto street and yard trees, and more. We warmly invite you to join us!

Want to help bring nature into neighborhoods? Check out ways to get involved or contact Canopy at [email protected] or 650-964-6110.

Thanks to all those who grow healthy trees and healthy communities!

Read more about Canopy’s Impact:

2017 Impact Report (PDF)
2016 Gratitude Report (PDF)
2015 Impact Summary
2014 Impact Summary
2013 Impact Summary
Prior Year Impact Reports (Publications page)

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