Mission Statement

Urban Resources Initiative (URI) is a community not-for-profit that works in conjunction with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. Our mission is to foster community-based land stewardship, promote environmental education, advance the practice of urban forestry, and provide Yale students with clinical learning opportunities. URI works in three areas:

  • Community Forestry
  • Environmental Education
  • Training and Capacity Building

We are dedicated to community participation in urban ecosystem management. Local residents, whose daily actions influence the health and quality of urban ecosystems, must play a central role in policy design and management for these ecosystems. Conservation efforts, especially in urban areas where people represent a significant element of the ecosystem, must emphasize social revitalization alongside environmental restoration. Our approach therefore stresses the integration of the biophysical and social sciences.

URI works with local New Haven community groups and residents to replant, restore, and reclaim the urban environment. We seek out those areas traditionally seen as problems—abandoned schoolyards, vacant lots, derelict buildings, and historically neglected areas in the city—and turn their rehabilitation into opportunities for the social and physical renewal of our community and environment.


2012/2013 URI Mission Statement Poetry Contest Winners:

First Place, by Renate Dicks:

people see

beyond today

find a way

to turn problems into opportunities

vacant lots into

nurtured green spaces

abandoned     schoolyards

into safe          havens

derelict               buildings

into warm                   places

people see and           so do we at URI


3 Runners Up:


If you want a tree

You can get one free:

Get involved with URI,

It’s as easy as pie.

A tree isn’t much bother,

Just needs a bunch of water.

You’ll make our world greener

And keep the air cleaner.


by Christopher Schaefer



 When the trees began to disappear
 In the city named for the Elm
 Many simply shed a tear
 Paralyzed and overwhelmed

 But after they paved paradise
 A sprig of hope sprung up to face defeat
 'Twas URI took root, how nice
 To see so many new trees grace our streets

by Paul Hammer


Think of the beauty of all our trees

Growing healthy, enjoy the breeze.

All the plantings improve our view

Results of work are volunteers do.


Our parks and cities benefit the most

So raise your glass and enjoy a toast.

Here's to our volunteers, young & old

Our city is green, but you are gold.


by Marge Ottenbreit

The success of URI-supported projects is based upon our ability to create opportunities to bring communities together to address their environmental priorities.