Cleveland Tree Coalition executive director joins national urban sustainability initiative; Local forestry advocates say new role could help cast a bigger spotlight on Cleveland efforts

Cleveland Tree Coalition Executive Director Samira Malone has been appointed to a prestigious national sustainability post, and local forestry advocates are optimistic the new role will bolster the potential to enhance local urban forestry initiatives. 

Malone, who will remain in Cleveland, has been tapped as the new National Urban Forestry Portfolio Lead, a collaboration between Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) and the Center for Regenerative Solutions. This collaboration aims to accelerate the adoption of nature-based climate solutions while improving the social, economic and environmental resilience of local communities.

“Samira will remain rooted in Cleveland and immersed in our mission,” said Rich Cochran, chair of the Cleveland Tree Coalition’s executive committee and president & CEO of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. 

“In addition to being directly involved in funding for urban forestry, Samira will continue to serve as chair of Cleveland’s Urban Forestry Commission. We are confident that her new role will serve as a catalyst in amplifying local urban forestry initiatives onto a national stage, casting an even brighter spotlight on our collective efforts,” he added.

Malone said the job change “marks not an end but a continuation of my partnership with Cleveland Tree Coalition members. I remain dedicated to supporting the work we have initiated in Cleveland while leveraging a national platform to amplify our impact.’’

She added: “It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve alongside such dedicated individuals, and I am immensely proud of the progress we have achieved together. Please know that while I may be transitioning to a new role, my commitment to our shared goals remains steadfast.”

Cochran noted that the coalition has raised and deployed millions of dollars to reforest Cleveland. He said succession planning is underway to ensure a smooth seamless transition that will allow the Cleveland Tree Coalition to maintain its present momentum.