BOISE, Idaho — The City of Boise, the Treasure Valley Canopy Network and the Boise Farmer's Market are teaming up to launch a new initiative in the City of Trees.
The City of Trees challenge features a long-term goal of planting 100,000 trees over the next ten years to combat climate change, increase the tree canopy and improve Boise's quality of life.
"The current trees in the Treasure Valley provide multi-million dollars of benefit just for air quality of human health every year," said Lance Davisson of the Treasure Valley Canopy Network. "The 100,000 trees are a lot of trees. It is going to take help from all the local nurseries, and we are going to help grow the green industry locally."
City Council President Elaine Clegg spearheaded this idea, and it begins this fall with the city planting 500 trees around town.
"If we get these trees planted, we will measure the ecosystem benefits, but we think with this kind of an effort we could get around a 30 or 32 percent canopy cover," said Clegg.
Currently, Boise has a 16 percent canopy cover, and the partnership has figured out they can't do this alone because trees will need to be planted on private property.
So this fall, the city is giving away 500 trees for residents to plant at the Boise Farmer's Market, which helps anyone plant a tree regardless of their income level.
"Going forward, the program will have an equity program every year so that we make sure that Boiseans who want a tree and might not be able to get them can do that," said Clegg.
So far citizens have responded, in the first three weeks of this program every tree available was taken home by a citizen in Boise.
"The 500 trees are awesome, they are selling out like hotcakes," said Davisson. "The big thing that we are trying to do is make sure that when you pick up that tree, we need you to join the challenge."
Citizens who plant a tree in 2020 are encouraged to register that tree so the city can count it towards their goal.
"If we can make this happen, Boise will be a better place," said Clegg.
There are two weeks left of the free tree giveaway, but if you are interested in getting a tree, you probably need to log on around 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday because the trees are getting reserved so quickly.