Greg Levine Named Executive Director, Trees Atlanta
Trees Atlanta Reaches New Milestones with Move to New Headquarters in SW Atlanta
Greg Levine takes the helm of the 38 year-old Atlanta-based environmental conservation organization
Atlanta, GA – March 24, 2023 – Greg Levine is appointed Trees Atlanta’s Executive Director effective April 1, 2023. This is only the third change in executive leadership in the organization’s 38-year history. Levine began his tenure at Trees Atlanta in 1995 when there were only four employees. After the organization’s first Executive Director, Marcia Bansley, retired in 2011, Greg Levine and Connie Veates created an innovative dual-leadership structure and worked together as Co-Executive Directors for twelve years. They launched a period of extraordinary growth for the organization, including the successful funding and construction of Trees Atlanta’s new headquarters in southwest Atlanta. Veates will step away from her role as Co-Executive Director at the end of the month.
The Co-Executive Directors will host their final joint duty when they lead the official ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Trees Atlanta Kendeda TreeHouse, located at 825 Warner Street SW, Atlanta. The 23,000 square foot facility is designed to engage surrounding communities and better support its large program operations that serves communities across metro Atlanta.
Trees Atlanta is hosting a series of community events at the Kendeda TreeHouse to open its doors to the public, including a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Andre Dickens, funders, and partners on Thursday, March 30, 2023 and a Community Open House on Saturday, April 22.
Taylor Baird, President of the Board for Trees Atlanta noted, “Greg and Connie have produced transformative growth for the organization: solidifying the Trees Atlanta brand, the development of the Kendeda TreeHouse, mentoring of countless staff, building and strengthening successful partnerships locally and nationally, and diversifying funding sources for long term stability for planting, conservation, and education efforts.”
Connie Veates’ tenure with Trees Atlanta spans 22 years – ten years serving on the Board of Directors of Trees Atlanta and 12 years as Co-Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. Veates significantly grew development among individual, corporate, and foundation giving. She also founded the Root Ball, their largest annual fundraising event, scheduled on Thursday, May 4 this year. Levine expressed deep appreciation for his colleague, “Connie has been a fantastic partner. She is a strategic, decisive, collaborative, and a growth-minded leader. I am very excited for her, as she will be using her talents as a consultant to help other nonprofits.”
The organization is now larger than it has ever been, serves 14 cities in metro Atlanta, and is pressed to address urgent environmental issues. Baird expressed confidence for more milestones ahead, “Greg has been a trusted leader of our organization. He consistently advocates for the preservation and growth of the urban canopy and has advanced community forestry for nearly three decades. The Board is excited for his continued leadership and for the future.”
In the nearly three decades since Greg joined Trees Atlanta, he has been hands-on in all facets of programming, as well as organizing partners, communities, and volunteers that support the mission of Trees Atlanta. Greg oversaw neighborhood and city plantings, forest restoration, advocacy, and the urban forestry teams that currently work in 14 municipalities in metro Atlanta. At the table in the early visionary years when Ryan Gravel and others were dreaming up the concept of the Atlanta BeltLine, Greg urged early advocates to make greenspace and nature an important element of the project. Trees Atlanta forged a strong partnership with the Atlanta BeltLine that resulted in the establishment and development of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum. The Co-Executive Directors have expanded Trees Atlanta’s education programs, including Summer Camp, Youth Tree Team, in school programs, Speaker Series, workshops, and various Certified Volunteer programs.
Trees Atlanta has planted over 160,000 trees and adds up to 7,000 new trees each year, including the creation of the Flowering Forest, a 1.5-mile tree tribute to John Lewis, a project that will likely become another canopy landmark in the City of Atlanta in the years to come. Trees Atlanta is also collaborating with Central Atlanta Progress and the City of Atlanta to plant 8000 new trees in Downtown Atlanta to help mitigate rising urban heat island effect and amplify Atlanta’s global reputation as the “City in the Forest.”
The Trees Atlanta Kendeda TreeHouse has various indoor and outdoor classrooms for adult and youth education programs, including a popular summer camp for outdoor fun and learning. An implementation building will allow more equipment to be housed as the organization’s scope and reach of work expands. The larger program and administrative structure stands at the corner of Warner Street and Allene Avenue. Trees Atlanta has opened a portion of the office space to be shared by three other conservation organizations. It sits on three acres of land situated between Oakland City and Adair Park neighborhoods and is connected to the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail. The campus boasts 1.5 acres of landscaped spaces that includes 100% native plants, over 200 newly planted trees, and stormwater management features designed to capture rainwater in cisterns or detain water on its property.