Forest ReLeaf of Missouri operates the only nonprofit community-assisted tree nursery in the region. Since our inception in 1993, more than 200,000 trees have been planted throughout Missouri and Illinois – projects that have increased tree canopy in low-income areas, assisted with reforestation after major weather disasters and those undertaken to promote peace and healing in our communities.
We measure our impact in different ways: the number of free trees grown and given away each year, how healthy planted trees are a few years later and the stories we hear from tree recipients.
Forest ReLeaf is a catalyst for restoring and sustaining our urban forests, with the help of thousands of volunteers. Our mission is to plant trees and enrich communities.
Started from seed or bare root seedlings, our staff and volunteers are growing more than 20,000 trees in our 7-acre nursery, CommuniTree Gardens, located in Creve Coeur Park in Maryland Heights, Missouri. Each spring and fall thousands of these trees are given away for free to groups for public and nonprofit planting projects throughout Missouri and the surrounding regions. Details on our tree distribution programs can be found here.
Education and outreach is another key element of Forest ReLeaf’s mission. Each year we offer a number of community outreach opportunities including our free, 6-week TreeKeepers Class, Tree Camp, educational classes, outreach events, and access to St. Louis area Urban Tree Canopy reports. For more, click on our LEARN section.
Working collaboratively with other forestry organizations and corporate partners, Forest ReLeaf successfully leverages its funding for the benefit of everyone. For example, the Missouri Department of Conservation and Forest ReLeaf administer the Missouri Forestkeepers Program, an effort that has grown to more than 3,000 members statewide and created an army of tree advocates and observers.
Forest ReLeaf is the proud recipient of the 2014 “Excellence in Urban Forestry Leadership” award from the Arbor Day Foundation. Other recent recognition includes the 2011 Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence and the 2013 Honorary Membership from the International Society of Arboriculture, in recognition of “outstanding support of arboriculture and the Midwestern Chapter – ISA.”
Trees matter. This infographic gives a glimpse of how much our community trees and forests contribute to making our world a better place to live.
Forest ReLeaf is moving closer to our equity ideal but we have a long way to go to fully reflect social and environmental justice.
At Forest ReLeaf we pledge to take this action in 2020 and beyond to better serve our organization’s mission to enrich all communities:
- Expand resources and volunteer opportunities to more BIPOC people and communities (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).
- Continue to reach out to BIPOC-led organizations and places of faith to partner on community-driven projects, promote available programs, and facilitate participation.
- Shine a light on the important environmental contributions of BIPOC individuals.
- Increase racial diversity on our board and in our spheres of influence to better represent the communities we serve.
- Use our platform as a voice for social and environmental justice.
The voices and messages of our fellow citizens marching ring loud and clear in our ears.
All people deserve to be seen, heard, welcomed, included and respected. Forest ReLeaf is dedicated to listening and learning as much as we can from our Black community members and will take their lead on how we can best serve as allies, advocates, and helpers. We will also set and share measurable benchmarks to hold ourselves accountable for real change. If you have something to offer or would like to have a deeper dialog about this topic, please reach out. Forest ReLeaf welcomes your insight, perspective, resources, and recommendations. Contact: Meridith Perkins, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forest ReLeaf of Missouri repeatedly earns both the Better Business Bureau’s standard as Accredited Charity, and GuideStar’s highest level Gold status.