How You Can Help Restore Communities and Forests Devastated by Recent Hurricanes

The Arbor Day Foundation has launched a Hurricane Tree Recovery campaign
Dec 8, 2017 8:00 AM ET

Learn more about the Hurricane Tree Recovery campaign

“We’re fine. We survived.”

“It’s just material things.”

“I know a guy with a tree remover, so I’m going to call him and get to work.”

These are just a few statements voiced from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma Survivors. Natural disasters have a way of putting life into perspective. Earlier this fall, towns and cities across the southeast and Caribbean experienced the strongest hurricanes of the Atlantic since Hurricane Katrina. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left large parts of Texas and Florida with nearly $200 billion in combined damage, the costliest hurricanes to date. Hurricane Maria — the worst hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in 80 years — has left most of Puerto Rico without power and destroyed most of the island’s infrastructure, creating a humanitarian crisis.

When disaster strikes, the need to act is dire. It could be months until final disaster numbers are reported, but what we do know is the affected communities need our help to rebuild and recover. The hurricanes destroyed millions of trees in yards, parks, and forests across the states and territory. Historic trees. Champion trees. Trees that were a part of peoples’ lives. Insurance will often cover the cost to rebuild structures, but not the trees and landscapes of a community.

In the wake of the devastation, we have launched a Hurricane Tree Recovery campaign to replant trees in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Our goal is to plant five million trees in the affected areas in five years. These trees will repair lost forest cover and help restore hope where it is needed most.

But we can’t do it alone. Recovery from a hurricane takes public and private partnerships.

We are currently working with the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Florida Forest Service, and many city and community leaders to help replant and distribute trees for planting. Companies of all sizes can get involved in the Hurricane Tree Recovery campaign by supporting tree distributions. It’s a great opportunity for companies to help replenish the neighborhoods that their customers and employees live and work in.

The sight of broken trees and limbs on the sides of roads is devastating. These fallen trees leave an impact on the people who live there. These new trees are a sign of hope and healing to the people and the communities in which they live. These trees lift their spirits and are a symbol of resiliency in the wake of devastation. These trees are a reminder that things can be restored, and life will get better.

Forests create healthy and thriving communities. Trees provide clean drinking water, fresh air, reduce soil erosion, and absorb stormwater runoff, improving the quality of life for residents.

You can help these storm-ravaged communities heal. Create a fundraiser on your Facebook page and encourage your friends and family to support the Hurricane Tree Recovery campaign. All donations made in 2017 through Facebook fundraisers will go toward the Hurricane Tree Recovery campaign. You can also give directly by visiting the Hurricane Tree Recovery webpage.

The time to plant is now. Help us replant millions of trees.