AUGUSTA, Maine — Project Canopy, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s community forestry program, will award $100,000 in grants to local governments and municipalities, educational institutions and non-profit organizations that support community efforts to develop and maintain long-term community forestry programs.
Funded by the U.S. Forest Service, Project Canopy grants are available in two categories: planning and education grants, and tree planting and maintenance grants. The average grants range from $6,000 to $8,000 and require a 50-percent cost-share with cash or in-kind services. Since 2003, Project Canopy has awarded more than $1.4 million in funding for community forestry projects.
“This partnership increases community awareness of the benefits of our forests and trees and promotes sustainable community forest management practices,” said Gov. Paul R. LePage in a prepared statement. “Project Canopy also supports Maine jobs by benefiting local landscapers, nurseries, foresters and loggers.”
Commissioner Walt Whitcomb also highlighted the economic impact of this segment of the Maine economy and the supportive role of Project Canopy grants. “Maine’s horticulture industry has a total economic impact of $286 million annually, and the industry supports 7,826 jobs,” said Whitcomb, in the press release. “Partnerships like Project Canopy support and enhance jobs in this growing segment of Maine’s economy and overall economic growth.”
Project Canopy is a cooperative partnership between the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s Division of Forestry and GrowSmart Maine. It encourages communities to develop project proposals that support sustainable community forestry management, increase awareness of the benefits of trees and forests, and increase the health and livability of communities through sound tree planting and maintenance.
Project Canopy Director Jan Ames Santerre provided recent examples of community projects that can benefit from Project Canopy grants. Projects of note in 2012 included a grant of $8,100 to the Town of Yarmouth for a shade tree inventory and management plan for street trees, and two projects in Kittery for $8,000 and Brownville for $7,961 that allowed those towns to plant trees in gateway and park areas.
“In addition to helping communities with general maintenance planning, these grants allow them to respond to threats from invasive pests such as the emerald ash borer. They can also support community beautification through street tree planting,” said Santerre.
The planning and education grants have a maximum award of $10,000, while the planting and maintenance grants have a maximum award of $8,000. To be eligible to apply for a 2013 assistance grant, all applicants must attend a grant workshop before submitting an application. Grant workshops will be scheduled in September and October at various locations around the state. The workshops will cover such topics as grant writing, project development, sustainable community forestry management and grant administration.
Grant applications are due by 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2.
More information is available on the web at http://www.projectcanopy.me