A healthy tree population provides myriad benefits to a community. There are intangible benefits—trees are prettier than concrete and glass. There are also measurable benefits. The Environmental Protection Agency found trees and vegetation can reduce temperatures by between 20 degrees and 45 degrees.
Trees may even help reduce crime. Various studies over the last decade have found a correlation between well-maintained green spaces and lower crime rates.
To that end, a Denver-based nonprofit organization, The Park People, works hard to protect the urban forest, planting new trees on private and public land.
Its leading project, Denver Digs Trees, has planted over 50,000 free and low-cost trees over the last 20 years. The Mile High Tree Champion program is a team-building opportunity, where local businesses donate funding and a team of volunteers to spend a half day planting trees.
The Park People works with local landscaping companies like Mountain High SavATree to provide education and outreach for its volunteers.
For those partners, it’s an opportunity to connect with the community and build relationships.
“We’re always out to make new friends. Tree and lawn care is really a long-term relationship business,” Mountain High founder Ralph Bronk said.
Bronk said that in working with The Park People, “you get to know people one-on-one or in small groups, so it’s a potential relation- ship builder.”
The Lakewood-based company merged with national firm SavATree in April 2017. It retained its locations in Lakewood and Colorado Springs.
“Our arborists volunteer to help do classes and instruction, and enjoy passing on their expertise and knowledge to people,” he said. “It’s one more opportunity to give back to the community in a way that we’re good at.”
He added, “We’re sure there’s a return at some point, but it’s not measurable.”
Bronk said that The Park People’s mission aligns with his company’s, “since we’re a part of the community and want to be involved in tree care,” but Mountain High SavATree gives back to its community in other ways, too.
The company recycles all of its green waste and donates it to groups like community gardens or women’s shelters. “Comcast Cares utilizes our mulch every year in a project that their volunteers work on,” Bronk said.
Mountain High SavATree also donates money to The Park People’s efforts, which helps the organization provide resources like its community education programs.
“Knowing that we’re making whatever contribution to improving the urban forest is a good thing. These homeowners and the volunteers for this group take it beyond the park into their neighborhoods and personal trees,” Bronk said.
(Photo: The Park People)