Grant Provides Funding to Plant Trees in Blount County to Strengthen the Natural Infrastructure
By Brittney Whipple
Keep Blount Beautiful received a $5,000 grant from The UPS Foundation as part of the 2018 Keep America Beautiful/UPS Community Tree and Recovery Tree Planting Grant Program.
Keep Blount Beautiful’s grant, to be used for The Kids Keep Blount Beautiful program, is one of 19 grants totaling $100,000 distributed throughout the country to Keep America Beautiful’s community-based affiliates. It’s estimated that the grant recipients’ projects will result in more than 1,200 trees being planted in support of local tree-planting initiatives.
The Kids Keep Blount Beautiful is a campaign designed to give young Blount County citizens a sense of ownership over their community by providing them the opportunity to participate in community greening and beautification projects. The campaign aims to address both the lack of environmental education in the local schools and the need for community greening with native plants and trees. With the funds from the UPS grant, Keep Blount Beautiful will perform native tree plantings at two Blount County Middle Schools, Carpenter’s Middle School and Eagleton Middle School. The trees will serve as one step in a long-term campus revitalization plan.
“Ultimately, a generation raised with environmental values and a sense of community pride will have a significant positive impact on the future of Blount County. Through this project, we want our middle school students to understand the positive effects of beautification and the importance of taking care of our community, as well as improve the native infrastructure of the campus with native species,” said Brittney Whipple, Executive Director at Keep Blount Beautiful.
Since 2011, Keep America Beautiful and The UPS Foundation have worked together to plant more than 11,200 trees throughout the country. The collaboration with Keep America Beautiful is part of The UPS Foundation’s global tree-planting initiative intended to help sequester levels of carbon dioxide through strategic plantings; emphasize the importance of native tree planting; or produce fruit from fruit trees for local consumption.
“Since 2003, UPS is honored to have worked with Keep America Beautiful, an organization whose mission is to inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. “The UPS Foundation also advocates for creating more resilient communities. Through our Global Forestry Initiative, we plan to fund the planting of 15 million trees by the end of 2020. Awarding these grants to Keep America affiliates helps us make a real impact on environmental issues.”
The UPS Community Tree and Recovery Tree Planting Grant Program is one element of The UPS Foundation’s commitment to fund the planting of “15 Million Trees By 2020” in urban and rural areas around the globe. Last year, the program funded the planting of more than 2.7 million trees, bringing the number of total trees planted to over 12.5 million – 84 percent to its goal. Additionally, this past year two new countries – Austria and Nigeria – were added to the program. UPS has now planted trees in 56 countries around the world.