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Tucson’s goal of 1 million trees by 2030 gives community a boost

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero has a mission to plant one million trees in Tucson by 2030 as part of a global initiative to plant one trillion trees worldwide.

“We have raised over $700,000 in private donations to help us get closer to our goal of planting 1 million trees by 2030,” Romero said in a written statement.

But three years later, Romero’s Tucson Million Trees effort has only seen about 100,000 trees go into the ground, according to city officials.

At this rate, the city could be looking at needing at least another 20 years to reach Romero’s goal, but a Tucson group hopes its local efforts will help.

On Saturday mornings, groups of Tucson Clean & Beautiful volunteers traveled to community neighborhoods to plant up to 100 trees a week as part of its partnership with the city.

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The nonprofit environmental group, whose mission is to create more livable outdoor community spaces, and its volunteers plant trees weekly from October through March.

Late last month, volunteers traveled to the Sugar Hill neighborhood to plant trees in the yards of family homes.

More than 30 volunteers gathered near the Mansfield Pool to go out into the community, shovels in gloved hands.

Noah Sagar, a junior in college high school, is a young leader of the group and attends planting events every weekend with his friend, Malak Elfarmaoui, also a junior in college high school.

“Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood that didn’t have a lot of tree cover, so it was really important to me that other kids in Tucson didn’t have the same experience,” Sagar said.

“We are looking for every opportunity we can to reach out to the community and see if we can plant, especially in areas where there is little shade,” said Lana Greene, intern at Romero’s Tucson Million Trees.

Tucson Million Trees focuses its plantings on “low-income, low-shade, high-heat-density neighborhoods,” Greene said.

Tucson Clean & Beautiful plantings run from 9-11 a.m. Saturdays and each week the group focuses on a new neighborhood, planting trees in the yards of family homes.

They typically plant three trees in each household, aiming for around 100 trees per week.

“I am grateful to our private donors and the Tucson Clean & Beautiful team who continue to be incredible partners on the ground for us,” Romero said.

Michael Morris, a local radio host for The Drive KDRI, participated in his first tree planting day in late January.

Morris said he wished he had gotten involved sooner.

“The neighbors were really nice, some of the neighbors who saw us walking in the streets thanked us,” he said.

People of all ages are encouraged to volunteer. Visit to learn more about Tucson Clean and Beautiful.

El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.


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