Spreading the Canopy Nationally:

Trees & Public Health

Trees Forever recently awarded grants to Friends of Trees of Portland, Oregon, The Greening of Detroit, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the Sacramento Tree Foundation for local trees and public health projects. 
Sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, Trees Forever is inserting the topic of trees and public health into the Blue Zones Initiative, healthy state initiatives and through other local or statewide opportunities. Trees Forever and long-time partner Sacramento Tree Foundation are collaborating with researchers and other experts to engage and do outreach on the importance of trees, forests and natural areas to our overall health and well-being.

Poor health due to stress, obesity, and chronic diseases has reached epidemic levels in communities across the country. The consequences are higher medical costs and lower quality of life for many Americans. Active living, eating right, reduced stress levels, and social connections are key strategies to improve health and happiness. A large body of research shows that everyday experiences of nearby nature in a community help people be healthier in both mind and body. Yet many public health and medical officials may not know about the evidence linking trees, parks, and open space to improved human well-being.


Click below to read the Spreading the Canopy: Promoting Nature as Key to Health Communities guide in one of two formats:


PDF (low resolution)

Grants awarded for Spreading the Canopy projects across the U.S. include:

  • Friends of Trees of Portland
  • The Greening of Detroit
  • Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
  • Sacramento Tree Foundation

National Council of Advisors to Spreading the Canopy:

Mary Northridge
American Journal of Public Health

Kathleen Wolf
Research Social Scientist
University of Washington
Lynne Westphal
U.S. Forest Service Project Leader
Research Social Scientist 

Dr. William Sullivan
Department of Natural Resources &
Environmental Sciences
Human Health and Landscape Laboratory
University of   Illinois

Ray Tretheway
Executive Director
Sacramento Tree Foundation


For more information on this program, contact Leslie Berckes with Trees Forever at 515-681-2295.