When viable tree planting sites are identified on county properties, homeowner association common open space or for projects managed by non-profits, Fairfax County’s Tree Preservation and Planting Fund administered by the Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD) can be used to help cover the costs of materials and supplies.
“We manage planting and tree maintenance projects on county properties such as public schools,” said Hugh Whitehead, Urban Forester III, “and the funds may help a non-profit cover costs for their projects and complement the county’s tree canopy.”
Whitehead coordinates disbursement of the Tree Preservation and Planting Fund for the county. Funds are used to plant native and needed trees on public school properties, among other places.
“We use the funds to purchase and plant trees and, perhaps more importantly, to educate the public about the environmental benefits of installing native trees in Fairfax County,” Whitehead said.
The Tree Preservation and Planting Fund was authorized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) in 2005 to allow developers to contribute to a county-wide tree planting program through the use of cash proffers obtained during the land development process and for reparation for violations of tree preservation commitments.
The BOS amended the Fund in 2016 to allow UFMD staff to administratively distribute funds for tree planting without BOS approval on each individual project.
Since 2016, UFMD has utilized more than $19,000 for tree planting and public education programs. The funds that are available now come to more than $78,000.
A good example of where the money is used can be illustrated by a look at some school planting projects that Whitehead and other urban foresters conducted. The Mantua Elementary tree planting project included three river birch; two hybrid American elms; two black gum; one willow oak; and two white oak trees, all of which are native to Northern Virginia and were installed by Mantua students. Included with the tree planting effort, more than 28,000 square feet of the school grounds was planted with seedlings of black gum, sycamore, river birch, American hornbeam, hackberry, persimmon, and serviceberry – again, all native trees.
“By using school property as a teaching environment, I believe these hands-on tree-planting events at county public schools instill a sense of environmental stewardship in tomorrow’s leaders,” Whitehead said.
The Mantua Elementary School children, from second through fifth grades, were enthusiastic planting-helpers and took to their shovels as if they were experienced urban foresters. They learned about the environmental benefits of trees as they installed species that were locally produced by Earth Sangha and purchased through the Tree Preservation and Planting Fund.
Another planting project was completed by the students and urban foresters at Dogwood Elementary School where 25 native trees were installed around the school and included Ginkgo and many of the native species listed above. Trees were installed at Dogwood ES during three planting seasons from November 2017 to April 2018 with the assistance of Mark Moseley, STEAM Resource Teacher and Get2Green Advisor.
Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Sharon Bulova helped install some native trees behind the Government Center near the pollinator meadow in October 2018.
“Trees in the environment play such an important role by cleaning the air and creating the kind of atmosphere we enjoy in Fairfax County,” the Chairman said. “County employees are adding trees to what is already beautiful at the pollinator meadow.”
Projects that have been supported by the Tree Preservation and Planting Fund and that support the BOS environmental vision since 2016 include:
- Fairfax County Government Center main entrance, north entrance median, Volunteer Fairfax Grove, south entrance and the pollinator meadow
- Dogwood Elementary School phases 1, 2 and 3
- The Sully Historic Site
- Mantua Elementary School phases 1 and 2
For information about the Tree Preservation and Planting Fund, contact Hugh Whitehead, Urban Forester III, UFMD, 703-324-1770, TTY 711.