History

From seedlings, a forest can grow – the path to a vibrant tree canopy for Atlanta.

 

Living in an urban forest comes with many advantages. The presence of trees helps to enhance our community and increase property values. In addition to their aesthetic value, trees improve air quality, help to conserve energy through cooling, reduce stormwater runoff, mitigate noise pollution, and provide shelter for wildlife. Studies have highlighted the link between trees and greenspace and physical and mental well-being. Urban nature has a calming effect on us while also encouraging learning, inquisitiveness, and mental alertness.

Recognizing the positive impact of trees on the community, a group of citizens joined together with the Junior League of Atlanta, Central Atlanta Progress, and the Commissioner of Parks to create Trees Atlanta in 1985 to address the lack of greenspace in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The desire for more trees and greenspace beyond downtown was a catalyst for Trees Atlanta to branch out and collaborate with neighborhood groups across the city to plant trees, educate citizens on the importance of trees, and engage the community in conserving Atlanta’s tree canopy. From the first 46 trees planted on Carnegie Way in 1986 to the more than 133,000 trees planted since that time, Trees Atlanta has partnered with citizens, businesses, and organizations to conserve and expand the urban forest in which we live.

Since its beginnings, Trees Atlanta’s primary goals have been to replace trees lost to development, conserve existing trees, protect green space areas, and educate the community’s residents and workers regarding the many benefits of trees. Trees Atlanta is now one of the most widely-known and respected non-profits across Metro Atlanta and a highly regarded community steward of our urban environment.

 

Avondale Estates – December 14, 1996

Trees Atlanta Milestones: Through the Years

  • 1985: Trees Atlanta is founded, hires first Executive Director, Marcia Bansley
  • 1986: First 46 trees are planted in downtown Atlanta on Carnegie Way
  • 1990: Trees Atlanta’s volunteer program begins
  • 1992: Kick-off for multi-million dollar Olympic Downtown Improvement Project
  • 1996: 318 trees are planted in and around Centennial Olympic Park
  • 1997: “Trees for Atlanta” Capital Campaign raises $2.4 million
  • 1999: Trees Atlanta helps save Morningside Nature Preserve
  • 2000: Trees Atlanta helps save Connally Nature Park
  • 2002: “Dreamers Park” created next to Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, supported by The Kendeda Fund
  • 2002: Volunteer Program officially renamed “NeighborWoods”
  • 2003: Forest Restoration Program launches
  • 2005: Neighborhood Arboretum Program launches
  • 2007: “Putting Down Roots” Capital Campaign raises nearly $5.5 million
  • 2007: Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Concept Plan developed
  • 2008: New headquarters opens at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center; Education program launches; volunteers plant first tree on the Atlanta BeltLine
  • 2009: LEED Platinum Certification received for the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center
  • 2010: Trees Atlanta celebrates its 25th anniversary; 75,000 trees planted to date
  • 2011: Marcia Bansley retired after 26 years of leadership; Connie Veates and Greg Levine are named Co-Executive Directors of Trees Atlanta
  • 2012: Planting of the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum begins on the Eastside Trail
  • 2013: Trees Atlanta is awarded 2013 Member Organization of the Year by EarthShare of Georgia; launches new summer camp program
  • 2014: Trees Atlanta plants its 100,000th tree (a white oak) at Piedmont Park; Hosts the 1st Annual Root Ball to celebrate
  • 2015: The TreeHouse, education branch of Trees Atlanta, opens in Old Fourth Ward
  • 2016: Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum plant begins on the Westside Trail; the Arboretum is awarded a Level II Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program
  • 2017: Trees Atlanta won the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s 33rd annual Managing for Excellence Award
  • 2018: Unveiled a new logo and tagline- our first logo change in 30+ year history; Launched the Browns Mill Food Forest, the largest food forest in the country