The F&ES-based Urban Resources Initiative
(URI) this week received a $30,000 award from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to improve its community outreach so that its urban forestry programs reach more of New Haven’s diverse population.
The nonprofit initiative, which promotes community-based land stewardship and urban forestry, operates two core programs in the city: a community greenspace initiative that brings together community groups to restore urban areas and “greenskills,” a green job training program for local teens and ex-offenders.
The funds will help URI promote these and other programs citywide, including to non-English speakers. In recent years, for instance, URI produced Spanish translations of its guide to urban trees and materials on bird habitat, said Colleen Murphy-Dunning
, URI’s director. “Recognizing that our community is culturally and racially mixed, we need to develop different materials that reach different groups of people,” she said.
The funds will also help the URI staff develop communication tools that can be used as a model for other urban forestry programs statewide.
M.E.S. '99, J.D. '04, PhD '05, the new commissioner of DEEP, visited Kroon Hall to present the award. Also attending the presentation was New Haven Mayor Toni Harp
“The abundant presence of trees in an urban setting like New Haven provides an invaluable, aesthetically pleasing element for residents and visitors alike,” Harp said in the release, according to the New Haven Register.
“Beyond that, our urban canopy is an important natural resource that reduces cooling costs — and energy use — in summer, absorbs rainwater to limit runoff and erosion, helps the environment filter greenhouse gasses and brings pastoral beauty to our streets.”