Project Canopy offers Maine schools tree-planting grants

Posted March 10, 2011, at 5:11 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Project Canopy, the Maine Forest Service’s community forestry program, is offering grants to Maine schools to plant trees on school grounds as part of the 2011 Arbor Week celebration and in recognition of Maine’s renowned forest industry.

Some 20 grants amounting to a maximum of $1,000 each are available for Maine schools through funding from the USDA Forest Service-Urban and Community Forestry Program and corporate sponsors, according to Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director.

“Every year during the third full week of May, students and adults join together and celebrate one of Maine’s most valuable natural resources — our trees and forests,” Santerre said. “Trees help cleanse the air we breathe and the water we drink, while beautifying the communities where we live. Maine schoolchildren can learn important lessons about the value of our forestland and make significant connections to our ecology through the simple act of planting trees at their own schools and watching them grow.”

Commissioner Bill Beardsley of the Maine Department of Conservation said, “Trees are the mainstay of the rural Maine economy. They provide lumber for our homes, paper for our homes, fuel for electricity and heat for our schools, planking for our boats, sound boards for our guitars and violins. They provide a living for thousands upon thousands of our Maine citizens. Maine is the most forested state in the nation, and trees are a part of our music, our poetry, and our way of life. It is critical that Maine youths recognize Arbor Day as something very special in Maine.”

The Project Canopy grant funding can be used to buy and plant one tree or several trees of the school’s choice. The plantings can be dedicated to Arbor Week or to an individual who is significant to the school. The school projects will be acknowledged as part of the Maine Forest Service’s annual Arbor Week celebration, May 16-20. Schools can apply for the grants by completing an application form available through Project Canopy. The application deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, April 29.

Also, Maine Forest Service staffers, including MFS district foresters, are available to participate in educational programming for each school.

Corporate sponsors for the grants are Evergreen Credit Union, Portland; Androscoggin Bank, Lewiston; and Central Maine Power, Augusta.

The annual Arbor Week celebration will be held Monday, May 16, at the Maine State Library, Augusta, and participating schools will be invited to attend.

During the celebration program, the Maine Forest Service will recognize Maine’s 17 “Tree City USA” communities. Those communities participate in the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program, which provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in municipalities throughout the U.S.

For more information about the school grants, contact Jan Ames Santerre, Project Canopy director, at: 287-4987 or e-mail: jan.santerre@maine.gov.

For a grant application online, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/projectcanopy/pages/resource/grants/2011/2011_school_planting_application.pdf

For more information about Project Canopy, go to: http://projectcanopy.maine.gov.

For more information about Tree City USA program, go to: http://www.arborday.org/programs/treeCityUSA/

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