Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and Local Community Activists Take A Step Toward Fulfilling the Tucson Million Tree Initiative

In another step toward fulfilling Tucson Mayor Regina Romero’s Tucson Million Trees Initiative, local activists (along with the Mayor) converged on the Barrio Centro and Julia Keen neighborhood and planted 30 trees along with 135 shrubs and cacti.

The neighborhood had been cited by Tucson’s Tree Equity Score as being a heat vulnerability site because of the low number of trees in the area.

The effort is a collaboration between the Mayors office, Trees for Tucson, Flowers for Bullets, Swire Coca Cola U.S.A., and Green Stormwater Infrastructure Mini Grants.

According to a press release from Mayor Romero’s office:

“The tree planting transforms a 10,000 square-foot city-owned parcel into green space open to the community.

In addition to creating urban shade canopy, the project will create 2,000 square feet of walking path and community gathering space, and 3,700 square feet of basins with the capacity to capture close to 12,000 gallons of stormwater. The trees and stormwater basins will help reduce surface temperatures and provide heat protection for the community. Tree planting is a simple and effective strategy to support efforts to combat climate change.”

At the event (please see video below,) Mayor Romero said:

“It is important that we reinvest and regreen the beautiful neighborhoods like Barrio Centro…With your help and the help of private companies like Swire Coca Cola, we were able to fundraise more than $400,000 of private monies for the Tucson Million Trees Initiative…I’m really happy to be part of this. There’s so much more we will be doing but this is a celebration that was a long time in coming…It looks beautiful. It looks gorgeous. I can’t wait to see to see these trees grow and have our children in our community come and play here and grow here the trees that we have just planted today.”

In the press release from her office, Ms. Romero commented

“Climate change is a crisis that affects each and every one of us, and it will take all of us working together to overcome and build resiliency.”

Following the event, Mayor Romero posted on social media:

“Thank you to everyone who joined us last Saturday as part of this tree planting event in #BarrioCentro #JuliaKeen. Thank you Swire Coca-Cola USA for your generous support, and to our community partners in this effort, Flowers & Bullets and Trees for Tucson.

I am happy to share that we planted 30 trees and 135 shrubs and cacti as we transform a 10,000 square-foot city-owned parcel into green space open to the community. This project will create 2,000 square feet of walking path and community gathering space, in addition to 3,700 square feet of basins with the capacity to capture close to 12,000 gallons of stormwater.

Trees and stormwater basins help reduce surface temperatures and provide heat protection for communities to combat climate change.”

While national initiatives like the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and the still to be passed Build Back Better Plan are welcome efforts to lift people up and move the country forward, this latest green sustainability effort by Mayor Romero and community activists further demonstrate that a bottom up collaborative approach to solving problems from local municipalities are often the best option to get results to lingering problems in regional areas.