For several seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have committed to planting one tree for every three-pointer made by the team during the regular season, which they have dubbed Trees for Threes. For those who may not know, Cleveland’s tree canopy cover is low at 19 percent, which is only one-quarter of what is possible. Each year an estimated 97 acres of tree canopy is lost. Tree canopy is defined as seen from an aerial view, the amount of land cover that is seen in summer months with leaves on.
Granted, the current canopy level, even at 19 percent, provides Clevelanders with more than $28 million in services each year, ranging from stormwater absorption to noise pollution reduction.
Cleveland’s urban forest also intercepts 1.8 billion gallons of rainwater every year. Absorbing rainfall reduces the amount of water that makes it into storm drains and other infrastructure and can help lower the effects of erosion.
Finally, Cleveland’s urban forest removes 415 tons of air pollution every year. Trees absorb pollutant gases like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide and filter particulate matter out of the air.
Last season, the Cavaliers made 953 three-pointers last season and on Tuesday morning, the organization honored its promise. At Brookside Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks system, volunteers from the Cavaliers, Davey Tree Expert Company as well as the City of Cleveland gathered to plant 30 trees in the reservation, a part of the 120 total trees being planted. A ceremonial planting of a large Buckeye tree commemorated the event which lead to the planting of 20 small Buckeyes and 10 Swamp White Oaks by volunteers from all three organizations.
“The only thing that matters today is that we get to plant some trees here in Northeast Ohio,” said Nic Barlage, CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rocket Entertainment Group. “It’s for the betterment of our community and for the betterment of our environment.
“Today is an opportunity for us to give back. When we think about all the work that we do on and off the court in Northeast Ohio, this is one of those moments where we actually get to see the work that we’re doing.
“… It’s incredible just to be able to give back a little bit today to the sustainability of the parks.”
The 120 trees being planted within the Metroparks system are also part of the 953 total being planted this fall. Barlage noted during his comments that when looking out upon Brookside Reservation, he can already see trees the organization in years past starting to grow bigger and stronger.
“I think the thing that differentiates our group and our partnership is to deliver and execute on a mission to plant urban trees,” said Pat Covey, CEO and Chairman of The Davey Tree Expert Company. “You can see they’re bigger trees and more sustainable trees. There’s a really good chance that they’re going to survive and make a difference either in the park or in an urban setting.
“This is a program that makes an impact in a meaningful way and the communities we live in. I think that as much as anything is very important and very valuable.”
In total, more than 2000 trees have now been planted over the multiple seasons of the Trees for Threes program. Cavaliers emcee Ahmad Crump as well as Barlage both joked that based on how this season is going for the team, they will be planting even more saplings next season. Through six games played, the Cavaliers have made 88 three-pointers, which puts them on pace to plant roughly 1,205 trees next fall. The more the merrier since, in the end, it makes life better for everyone living in Northeast Ohio.
Featured image credit: Right Down Euclid
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be found three to five times a week on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
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