Project Canopy Announces 2014 Community Forestry Grants

AUGUSTA – Project Canopy, a cooperative partnership between the Maine Forest Service and GrowSmart Maine, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Project Canopy Assistance Grants.  A total of $133,064.78 was awarded in 6 Planning and Education grants and 13 Tree Planting and Maintenance Grants. Planning Grants were awarded to Dixmont Conservation Commission, Farmington Conservation Commission, Town of Kennebunkport, Town of Monmouth, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, and Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.   Planting grants were awarded to the City of Presque Isle, University of Maine – Farmington, Town of Pittsfield, Town of Fort Kent, City of Lewiston, City of Belfast, City of Ellsworth, Town of Greenville, Town of Dover-Foxcroft, Town of Milo, Town of Camden, Yarmouth Tree Committee, and Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District.  Project Canopy received a total of 22 applications, 3 from new communities and organizations, with a total grant request of $143,065.

Project Canopy Assistance Grants are available to state, county, and municipal governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations for developing and implementing community forestry projects and programs.  Planting projects increase the health and livability of communities through sound tree planting and maintenance, while planning and education projects support sustainable community forestry management, and efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of trees and forests. All grants require a 50% match from the grant recipient in cash or in-kind services.

In Dixmont, the grant will help to transform a 100-acre town-owned woodlot into the Dixmont Town Forest, a carefully planned and managed demonstration forest. The project will be guided by a comprehensive forest management plan to improve the timber stand, protect the soils and wetlands, enhance the habitat for wildlife and encourage non-motorized recreational use of the forest. The project will also include educational outreach for local children and citizens, and efforts to identify and combat invasive species. Plans include partnerships with the Etna-Dixmont school, Project Learning Tree, the American Chestnut Foundation, and Unity College.

The Town of Pittsfield’s comprehensive plan supports a safe and attractive pedestrian and bicycle network in the urban portion of town. In 2014, the MaineDOT implemented a major renovation of Somerset Avenue, which had not been paved for approximately 40 years. The town has focused all available funding into traffic calming measures such as sidewalks, crosswalks and signage. With its Project Canopy grant, the town proposes to continue its relationship with MDOT to create an entry point to the downtown on Somerset Avenue with the planting of trees. This project will replace aging trees in this portion of town, utilizing the efforts of local schools, committees, and organizations that engaged in revitalization efforts.

The students in the University of Maine at Farmington’s First Year Seminar researched and wrote their successful grant application. Removal of 39 large trees lost during construction of the Emery Community Arts Center reduced carbon storage capacity on the UMF campus by 20,113 kg of carbon, a 6% carbon reduction. This Project Canopy Tree Planting Grant will fund the purchase of 42 trees and shrubs encompassing 11 species native to Maine. UMF students have measured changes in carbon storage on campus since 2010. They learn tree identification, forestry survey practices, and about the concept of carbon off-sets. The student experiences associated with this project stimulate public awareness of what constitutes a community forest, the role of forests in the community, and the benefits of long-term, urban tree management.

Project Canopy is funded by the USDA Forest Service Community Forestry Assistance Program. The USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program was authorized by the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (PL95-313) and revised by the 1990 Farm Bill (PL101-624) to promote natural resource management in populated areas and improve quality of life.