Cleveland Tree Coalition Seeks New Director

Background
The Cleveland Tree Coalition (CTC) is a partnership comprised of many organizations, businesses, and branches of local government that strives to create a healthy, vibrant, sustainable, and equitable urban forest by working collaboratively to implement the 2015 Cleveland Tree Plan (CTP). The Coalition formed in 2016 in response to Action #1 of the Cleveland Tree Plan, “Establish a unified voice, and formalize partnerships”. Since its formation, the Coalition has evolved into a strong network of more than 40 partner organizations led by a Board of Directors comprised of the following organizations: Holden Forests and Gardens, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Cleveland Metroparks, City of Cleveland, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Environmental Health Watch, Black Environmental Leaders, and Cuyahoga County.

Position Summary
The Director will be an outward facing leader of the CTC, working to raise awareness around the critical need for a robust tree canopy, and raising funds from public and private sources to advance the goals of the CTC and the CTP. The CTC, and particularly its Board, is a powerful platform that can influence public policy and sentiment at all levels – local, state, and federal. The Director’s primary focus will be on developing, enhancing, and deploying this platform of relationships and capacity. The Director will work with Board and CTC member organizations to lobby local, state and federal officials to continue to increase funding for urban forestry. The Director will lead efforts to educate and influence civic organizations, businesses, and opinion leaders to make sure that a healthy urban tree canopy becomes and remains a major civic priority that is well understood, well-funded, and celebrated. The Director will implement the recently completed strategic plan through fundraising and building community to create a more robust Cleveland Tree Coalition. The Director will supervise additional staff when programs and funding are determined to demand extra capacity. The Director will report to the Chair of the Board of Directors or to the Chair’s designee and will work with the Core Team to implement the strategic plan. The Director will be an employee of Western Reserve Land Conservancy and will be housed within its offices and infrastructure. Western Reserve Land Conservancy will provide legal, finance, and administrative support to the Director.

Key Areas of Responsibility
• Raise awareness and move public sentiment around the importance of trees and the need to restore Cleveland’s tree canopy.
• Lead effort to raise $100 million of funding over ten years from public sources, corporate partnerships, and private philanthropy to fund urban forestry.
• Platform building: help to establish and collaborate with other partnerships/coalitions to advance public policy and increase funding to advance the mission of the Cleveland Tree Coalition.
• Provide oversight and guidance to CTC Working Committees as defined in 2023 strategic plan.
• Administer CTC Grant Program which provides funding for tree planting and maintenance to CTC member organizations.
• Represent the CTC at conferences, national forums, networking events and in media appearances.
• Create and nurture relationships with key local, state, and national elected and appointed officials.
• Develop and maintain close working relationships with members of the Board of Directors.
• Lead efforts to explore innovative funding approaches, including, for example, ballot initiatives, sin taxes, social media campaigns, etc.
• Lead and oversee the development and implementation of strategic plans, annual operating plans, communications plans, and all other plans of the CTC.
• Manage corporate and foundation relationships including writing proposals, managing grants, and preparing reports.
• Provide organization support for the CTC and its Board of Directors by planning meetings, developing materials, and coordinating the efforts of CTC members and leaders.
• Develop a local and national network of relationships with individuals and organizations who are deeply engaged in this space, such that this network can be activated to advance the goals of the CTC.

Experience, Education and Capabilities
• At least 5 years of experience in coalition building, public advocacy, fundraising, or a related field, with proven success in raising significant funding from various sources including governmental.
• Must be able to convey a strong passion for the CTC’s mission and knowledge of its strategies and activities to build engagement and support.
• Highly energetic professional with a track record of building strong relationships and developing large funding sources.
• Strong written and verbal communication skills combined with the ability to write and deliver clear, structured, and persuasive proposals.
• Exceptional interpersonal skills with an ability to work independently and to work in a fast-paced environment with multiple partners.
• Must be willing to travel within Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, to Columbus, to Washington, D.C., and to conferences and regional meetings as needed. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required.
• A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college is strongly preferred.

Salary and Work Location
This is a full-time position that will be located at the Land Conservancy’s Thriving Communities office in Cleveland. The salary range for the position is $75,000 to $90,000 annually, commensurate with experience, and the position is eligible for benefits.

Application Process
Interested individuals should e-mail a cover letter and resume to Bob Kissling, Vice President of Human Resources at Western Reserve Land Conservancy, at rkissling@wrlandconservancy.org.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to hiring staff members who represent the rich diversity of our community. At the Land Conservancy, all employees and applicants for employment are judged on their merits. The Land Conservancy is committed to providing an environment free of illegal discrimination of any kind, and does not base any employment decisions on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, religion, age, disability, military or veteran status, or any other protected category under federal and state laws.

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. 

Cleveland Tree Coalition August 23′ Application Now Open

The Cleveland Tree Coalition is excited to share the 2023 CTC grant cycle application. This grant is open to local non-profit and public organizations for tree planting and establishment within the City of Cleveland. Organizations are eligible to apply for up to $75,000 for planting, maintenance, and community free tree giveaways.

This grant was made possible through funding provided by NOPEC’s Energized Community Grant program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and the CTC’s federal earmark from Senator Sherrod Brown. NOPEC, ODNR, and Senator Brown are proud to support the CTC’s critical mission of reforesting the “Forest City” through ongoing planting and maintenance initiatives.

The application and related materials are attached at the bottom of this post. Once completed, please email the application to Director Samira Malone at smalone@wrlandconservancy.org for consideration. Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM on August 25th.

Through August, the CTC will offer 30-minute technical assistance sessions to groups interested in applying. These will be held on August 2nd, 8th, 16th, and 23rd between 1p-4p. To schedule a session, please email Thomas Vodrey at tvodrey@wrlandconservancy.org and cc Samira Malone at smalone@wrlandconservancy.org.

We invite you to share this opportunity with your networks.

Cleveland Tree Coalition August 23′ Notice of Funding Opportunity

The Cleveland Tree Coalition is pleased to announce our next round of grants for August 2023. This grant is open to local non-profit and public organizations for tree planting and maintenance within the City of Cleveland. Organizations are eligible to apply for up to $75,000 for planting, maintenance, and tree giveaways.

We look forward to seeing your applications in the coming month. The application will be made available on August 1st and close on August 25th at 5:00 PM.

The CTC will offer 30-minute technical assistance sessions to groups interested in applying. These will be held on August 2nd, 8th, 16th, and 23rd afternoons. To schedule a session, please email Thomas Vodrey at tvodrey@wrlandconservancy.org.

For more information, please read the Notice of Funding Opportunity document attached below. Please share with your networks.

Celebrate Arbor Day 2023 with the Cleveland Tree Coalition

In celebration of Arbor Day, the Cleveland Tree Coalition – a collaborative group of public, private and community stakeholders that have partnered with the City of Cleveland to rebuild our urban forest – will host events all week long throughout the city. Arbor Week events include:

Cleveland Metroparks
Tree-rific Hike
Friday, April 28
3 – 4:30 PM
Brookside Reservation
Link: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/calendar/2023/wsc/april/br/tree-rific-hike

Arbor Day Kids Tree ID
Friday, April 28
4:30 – 5:30 PM
Rocky River Reservation
Link: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/calendar/2023/rrnc/april/arbor-day-kid%E2%80%99s-tree-i-d

Tree ID Hike
Saturday, April 29
1 – 2 PM
Rocky River Nature Center
Link: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/calendar/2023/rrnc/april/tree-i-d-hike

Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Arbor Day Ubuntu Street Tree Planting
Friday, April 28
9 AM – 12 PM
E 130th Street & Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44120
Link: https://wrlandconservancy.org/event/arborday23/

Trees4CLE Arbor Day Tree Adoption
Saturday, April 29
9 AM – 1 PM
2921 East 82nd St, Cleveland, OH 44104
Link: https://wrlandconservancy.org/trees4cle/

MidTown

Arbor Day Celebration
Saturday, April 29
11 AM – 3 PM
1945 East 71st Street Cleveland, OH 44103
Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrate-arbor-day-tickets-543020748677

Holden Forests & Gardens and the City of Cleveland

Jesse Owens Olympic Oak Planting
Friday, April 28
12 – 1 PM
League Park, 6601 Lexington Ave. Cleveland, OH 44103

Old Brooklyn CDC

Leow Park Tree Planting
Saturday, April 29
10 AM
4741 W.32 Street, Cleveland, OH 44109
Link: www.oldbrooklyn.com/planting

Cleveland Tree Coalition: Strategic Planning RFP

The Cleveland Tree Coalition is excited to release an RFP for our first Strategic Planning Process. The Coalition is currently in a place of catalyst momentum with the hiring of its full-time inaugural Director, Samira Malone, whose role will raise awareness around the critical need for a Robust tree canopy in Cleveland and generate financial and legislative support for the work of the Coalition. In addition to being a full-time Director, there has been a great deal of interest and significant investment in urban forestry over the last several years on the local, state, and federal levels.

The goal of the CTC strategic plan is to work with an experienced and innovative consultant who can help identify and prioritize investment and actions needed to keep our organization on track over the next 3-5years as we work toward achieving the tree canopy goal outlined in the Cleveland Tree Plan. We accept proposals from October 12th 2022-November 11th at 5 pm EDT. Below is the RFP.

Cleveland Tree Coalition February 22′ Grant Awardees

http://www.clevelandtrees.org/wp-login.php

Through NOPEC’s Energized Community Grant program, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy (WRLC) and the Cleveland Tree Coalition (CTC) were able to plant and maintain over 700 new trees in many of Cleveland’s low-canopy neighborhoods from 2020 – 2021. Based on a 2019 study, the City of Cleveland lags behind most NEO suburbs and Cuyahoga County (37.6% canopy) with only 18.9% tree canopy coverage. In addition, the City of Cleveland has so few trees that its boundaries can be seen from satellite images.

NOPEC is committed to helping the City of Cleveland in this reforestation effort which provides shade, acts as natural air conditioning for neighborhoods, sequesters carbon, and contributes to the Cleveland Tree Coalition’s target of increasing Cleveland’s tree canopy cover to 30% by 2040. NOPEC is pleased to provide needed support to the WRLC and CTC for this critical mission of reforestation of the “Forest City” through ongoing planting and maintenance initiatives. 

This year the Cleveland Tree Coalition has awarded $311,564 in grants to CDCs and local non-profit organizations for tree planting and maintenance within the City of Cleveland. Organizations receiving funding include:

  • Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
  • Famicos
  • MidTown CDC
  • Monroe Street Cemetery Foundation
  • Old Brooklyn CDC
  • Organic Connects
  • Slavic Village Development
  • Northwest Neighborhoods CDC
  • Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Reforest Our City Program 

CTC is preparing for the next round of grant funds, and the application will be available from August 15th- September 5th. Organizations are eligible to apply for up to $50,000 for planting and maintenance. 

Reforesting the Forest City: A Slate of Events Scheduled to Celebrate Arbor Day 2022

Cleveland Tree Coalition member organizations are celebrating trees in Cleveland all week long.

In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day, the Cleveland Tree Coalition – a collaborative group of public, private and community stakeholders that have partnered with the City of Cleveland to rebuild our urban forest – will host a series of virtual and in-person events to celebrate Arbor Day in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Tree Coalition members will be posting social media content throughout the week using the hashtag: #ArborDayCLE. Additional Arbor Week events include:

  • Tuesday. April 26
    • Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District and Friends of Euclid Creek will host an in-person seminar called “Green Yards & Healthy Homes” to demonstrate how to replace chemicals in your home and yard with natural-safe options.
    • Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Zoom into Nature webinar series will highlight Arbor Week with Foundations of Tree Identification. Attendees will join Lizzie Sords, certified Arborist, to learn the basics of tree ID and common plant terminology that they can use to start to identify the trees in their own neighborhoods. This webinar will set attendees up to continue to learn and practice tree ID on their own as our trees begin to leaf out and bloom.
  • Thursday, April 28
  • Friday, April 29
    • In observance of Arbor Day on Friday, April 29th, Holden Forests & Gardens will offer free admission to the Cleveland Botanical Garden and the Holden Arboretum. Free tree seedlings will be distributed at Cleveland Botanical Garden between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and at the Holden Arboretum between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or while supplies last at each campus. Trees that will be distributed are: Red maple, Acer rubrum, Sugar maple, Acer saccharum, Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Serbian spruce, Picea omorika.
  • Saturday, April 30
    • Cleveland Metroparks will host “Big Trees in the Valley” hike where attendees will discover the different species of trees that enjoy living in the river valley.
    • Fun for the whole family – Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will be hosting a Family Exploration Day, featuring a wildflower hike, creek exploration, and caterpillar/butterfly monitoring.
    • “Grow not Mow” by Doan Brook Partnership will have volunteers planting 60+ buttonbush and silky dogwood in this marshy area to absorb stormwater, prevent erosion during severe weather events and provide habitat for native wildlife.
    • Tree-t yourself to a free tree this Arbor Day at Western Reserve Land Conservancy’s Arbor Day Tree Adoption. In an effort to raise the tree canopy in Cleveland, 160 trees will be given away to city of Cleveland residents.
    • Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District will host their annual “Big Creek Cleanup” to protect or local streams and Lake Erie.
    • “Flow and Grow” in MidTown will feature a Neighborhood Community Tree Planting and Celebration from 12-4 p.m. at the Dunham Tavern. The event will feature local food as well as a yoga session from instructor Dawn M. Rivers. AJ and The Confirmation Band will also perform! Volunteers are still needed!

The 2015 Cleveland Tree Plan set a target to increase Cleveland’s tree canopy cover from 19% to 30% by 2040. Although the region has made progress in the past six years, according to a report compiled by the Cleveland Tree Coalition, tree canopy cover continues to decline. Neighborhood canopy cover varies widely, ranging from 35% to 4% across the city. From heat island effects to stormwater benefits, the effect of urban forest decline affects BIPOC communities disproportionately, systemically. The 2020 update calls for the Cleveland community to rise creatively and collectively to grow an equitable canopy. This includes peeling many layers of systemic injustices to address health and environmental detriments, and creating just accessible and green opportunities in the process.

25 Projects Awarded Funding Through Round Two of Cuyahoga County Healthy Tree Canopy Grant Program

Over 4,000 trees to be planted through community-wide effort

In its second year of funding, the County will invest $950,000 into its tree canopy by funding 25 projects for tree plans and tree planting sponsored by area municipalities, neighborhoods and nonprofits through the Cuyahoga County Healthy Tree Canopy Grant Program. This funding will spur the creation of 20 tree planting projects, five tree planning and planting projects and one new County tree nursery.

Preliminary map of 2021 Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program awards

This innovative grant achieves an action identified in the County’s 2019 Climate Change Action Plan through the annual contribution of $1 million dollars for five years to revitalize the tree canopy in Cuyahoga County.

Working closely with communities, neighborhoods, and nonprofits, we’ve been able to make critical improvements in tree canopy coverage in areas that tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

– County Executive Armond Budish

The County’s 2019 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment showed slightly more than 100,000 acres (34.7 percent) of all land in Cuyahoga County is tree canopy, with an additional 371,000 acres available for tree canopy. The first round of funding identified over 15,000 sites available for tree planting in multiple municipalities. Projects were selected based on a variety of factors, with special consideration given to projects that align with the County’s equity and vulnerability goals.

“We are making great progress toward our goal of increasing our tree canopy as we continue to plant thousands of trees across Cuyahoga County,”
 said County Executive Armond Budish. “Working closely with communities, neighborhoods, and nonprofits, we’ve been able to make critical improvements in tree canopy coverage in areas that tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. I applaud municipalities for their dedication to increasing their canopy coverage, which will ultimately improve the well-being of all residents.”

This second round of grants supports the implementation of community urban forestry plans, expanding tree canopy through community reforestation projects and implementing high impact reforestation projects. The Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program will gather data about each project, monitor its success, and produce an annual report that will better inform project selection and funding for each successive year of grant funding.

“Trees are critical for so many things—helping with local air quality and storm water runoff, providing summer shade and minimizing air conditioning costs, and generally assisting with overall mental health. That’s why the County continues to put resources into helping strengthen tree plantings in communities,” said Cuyahoga County Sustainability Director Mike Foley. “Planting trees is important, but making sure they are healthy and will survive for the next 50 to 75 years is paramount for a successful tree canopy restoration program. This grant program allows us to continue to increase our canopy across dozens of municipalities in a healthy and sustainable way.”

Over 4,000 trees will be planted during this second phase, which will bring the total number of trees planted across both rounds to over 5,400. In addition, one tree nursery will be created in the City of Parma through this grant funding. Overseen by the West Creek Conservancy, Stearns Farm in Parma will serve as a fully functional native tree nursery, garden compost processing site, vegetation research location and “native Ohio wildflower” nursery.

“The County Planning Commission is honored to be part of this program committee and commend the County Executive for making funding available,” said Planning Commission Director Mary Cierebiej. “The interest in the Tree Canopy Grant Program was even greater this year than in 2019. We encourage applicants that did not receive funding to apply next year; we are happy to provide guidance. Our tree canopies are critically important to the future of our communities; we are thrilled to see the significant number of trees that will be planted as part of the 2021 program. We encourage every community in Cuyahoga County to consider sustainable and healthy growth as your plan for your future.”

For more information, click here: https://www.countyplanning.us/news/grants/25-projects-awarded-funding-through-round-two-of-cuyahoga-county-healthy-tree-canopy-grant-program/

Cleveland Tree Coalition Webinar: Growing Trees and Growing Equity in Cleveland

More than 100 community members and activists joined panelists with the Cleveland Tree Coalition to celebrate Arbor Week 2021 and discuss the topic of “Growing Trees and Growing Equity in Cleveland.”

The 2015 Cleveland Tree Plan set a target to increase Cleveland’s tree canopy cover from 19% to 30% by 2040. Although the region has made progress in the past five years, according to the Cleveland Tree Plan: 2020 Tree Canopy Progress Report compiled by the Cleveland Tree Coalition, tree canopy cover continues to decline. Neighborhood canopy cover varies widely, ranging from 35% to 4% across the city! From heat island effects to stormwater benefits, the effect of urban forest decline affects Black and Brown communities disproportionately, systemically. The 2020 update calls for the Cleveland community to rise creatively and collectively to regrow an equitable canopy. This includes peeling back many layers of systemic injustices to address health and environmental detriments, and creating just accessible and green opportunities in the process.
  
Interconnected problems have interconnected solutions. In this panel, hear from community leaders on the ground about the real and existing barriers to growing an equitable tree canopy and how some communities/neighborhoods are working extra hard to address the challenges to meet the goal through local grants and community grown solutions.

Moderator: Divya Sridhar, Manager of Climate Resiliency and Sustainability, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
Panel Members: Erica Burnett, Director of Community Building and Engagement, Famicos Foundation
Samira Malone, Neighborhood Planning Project Coordinator, MidTown Cleveland Councilman Blaine Griffin, Cleveland City Council, Ward 6
Veronica Walton, Executive Director, Food Depot to Health