** Read these GUIDELINES first before clicking the application button below. **
Introduction to the Georgia ReLeaf program
In April, 2011, tornadoes struck many southern U.S. states, taking lives and destroying homes, businesses, and city infrastructure - including thriving community trees. To help restore the many environmental, economic, and social health benefits that trees provided in these storm-struck Georgia communities, the Georgia Tree Council (GTC), in cooperation with the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC), established the Georgia ReLeaf Program to bring community forests back to life by planting trees in public areas such as parks, schools, main streets, and business districts.
In addition to tree planting for storm recovery, the Georgia ReLeaf program also makes funding available for tree planting and tree giveaway projects that contribute to tree equity in underserved communities and/or projects that provide environmental benefits to assist with improving air quality, reducing stormwater runoff, and/or mitigating the effects of urban heat islands
Funding for this Program
Georgia ReLeaf is currently funded through individual and corporate contributions and with major financial support from the Georgia Forestry Commission through funding from the U.S. Forest Service.
The objectives of the Georgia ReLeaf Program are to:
1) Improve the environmental, economic, and social health of Georgia communities
2) Help sustain health and diversity in Georgia’s community forests
3) Improve planning efforts of city administrators, municipal tree departments and tree boards
4) Contribute to tree equity in under-resourced communities.
5) Increase environmental and health benefits to combat the effects of climate change.
Projects submitted must be for 1) tree planting projects and/or 2) tree giveaway events and must fall within one of these three categories:
A. Canopy restoration in storm-damaged communities.
These projects work to bring community forests back to life by planting trees in public areas such as parks, schools, main streets, and business districts or on private property through a tree giveaway event for residents.
B. Projects contributing to tree equity in underserved communities.
These projects work to improve the quality of life in underserved, under-resourced neighborhoods, contributing to tree equity in Georgia communities.
Visit https://treeequityscore.org to learn more about why trees are critical for every community and how to determine a community’s tree equity score, a measure of how well a neighborhood is benefitting from healthy community trees.
The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) is a geospatial mapping tool to identify disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.
C. Projects that utilize trees as green infrastructure
These projects work to combat the effects of urban heat islands, improve air quality, and/or reduce stormwater runoff by providing shade, reducing ozone and other air pollutants, and/or slowing or capturing rainfall.
Tree Planting Projects must meet the following criteria:
1. Take place within city/county limits or boundaries (parks, schools, playgrounds, greenspaces, rights-of-way, business districts, parking lots, downtown areas) and on city/county property. Personal property will not be considered.
2. Include a tree planting site plan and map using aerial photography or GIS. The planting plan must be approved by a GFC Community Forestry Specialist. https://gatrees.org/about/county-contacts/
3. Include a 3-year maintenance plan.
4. Be endorsed by the local government or by the Department of Transportation, if applicable.
For Community Tree Giveaway Events:
1. Eligible groups must plan and host a tree distribution event(s) for homeowners and residents.
2. These events must include distribution of educational materials, which will be provided by GFC, such as tree planting guidelines, links to instructional planting videos, and other tree care information for homeowners and residents.
The Georgia ReLeaf Program is not intended for the purpose of beautification tree plantings, community orchards/food forests, landscaping for new/recent construction projects or trail construction/maintenance.
Funds may be awarded to units of government agencies, 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations or educational institutions.
Funding is for the purchase of trees, staking and watering materials (if needed) and installation costs (if needed) only. The Georgia Tree Council and Georgia Forestry Commission reserves the right to reject any and all proposals or to approve partial funding for any and all proposals. Maximum grant award is $7,500.
Applications for Georgia ReLeaf funding must demonstrate a 20% match with non-federal funds. (Ex: $5,000 grant funds require $1,000 in match. Total project cost = $6,000.) Match may include in-kind contributions, volunteer assistance, and private and public (non-Federal) monetary contributions. All matching funds must be specifically related to the proposed project. The source of the match, cash and in-kind, must be identified and quantified in the application by enclosing letters of intended support. Funds expended prior to the date of the grant agreement cannot be used as match. Funds expended for food and beverages cannot be used as match. Documentation of all matching funds must be provided in the final report.
The online application must be submitted by September 16, 2022. Recipients will be notified by October 14, 2022. Approved projects can begin only after agreements are signed by the grantee and the Georgia Tree Council. All efforts should be made to plant or distribute trees before the end of March 2023.
Invoices and Final Reports
An invoice for trees/materials showing purchase of the trees and a final report is required of the grantees. The final report must include before and after photos (attached in .jpg or picture files), a summary of your completed project, a breakdown of how the grant dollars and match are spent, copies of paid invoices/receipts for the approved Georgia ReLeaf-covered expenses and documentation of how the match requirement was met.
Proposals must meet the following minimum requirements to be considered.
- Proposals should follow the outline format of the Proposal Narrative (indicate the Section numbers and titles in bold). Handwritten applications will not be reviewed.
Submit your completed application to
the Georgia Tree Council by September 16, 2022.
Any questions? Call Mary Lynne Beckley at 470-210-5900 or email her at email@example.com.
Project proposals will be evaluated on whether or not the information provided about the project indicates that the project:
- Meets a demonstrated urban forestry need
- Meets Georgia ReLeaf Program Objectives
- Falls into one of the required categories
- Has a realistic time frame for completion
- Is cost effective
- Has documented cash and in-kind matching commitment
- Has a planting plan with appropriate species for plantings
- Has a maintenance plan for plantings
- Enhances volunteer involvement
- Involves various partnerships
- Utilizes personnel that have qualifications to complete activities
- Generates local visibility, incorporates public relations and awareness
- Enhances environmental, social, cultural, historical, psychological and economical values
- Shows demonstrated ability of the applicant to follow through on project completion
Note: Applications from current certified Tree City U.S.A. locations or Tree Campus Higher Education schools in Georgia will be awarded additional points during the review of applications.
For more information about the Tree City/Campus programs go to https://gatrees.org/learn-explore/tree-city-usa-tree-campus-usa-tree-line-usa/
Potential applicants can contact the Georgia Forestry Commission or the Georgia Tree Council as appropriate to obtain assistance or information from local and state resources.
Georgia Tree Council
Georgia Forestry Commission
To find your local GFC Community Forestry Specialist:
International Society of Arboriculture
Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA Program
Download the TREE OWNER'S MANUAL here.
Read Community Tree Planting and Establishment Guidelines from the Georgia Forestry Commission
You may want to read Tree Planning and Planting Campaigns: A Guide for Reforesting Cities and Towns - A Community Tree Planning and Planting Guide from the Green Infrastructure Center:
2021 Georgia ReLeaf grants distributed
The Savannah Tree Foundation, the City of Dublin, and Keep Golden Isles Beautiful are recipients of 2021 Georgia ReLeaf grants. Projects:
Savannah Tree Foundation: Big Trees for Tiny Homes - Improving Veteran's Quality of LIfe in Chatham County
STF and Savannah-Chatham Authority for the Homeless have partnered to plant trees at the Cove at Dundee, a 46-unit tiny home community for formerly homeless veterans. The trees will enhance veterans' quality of life by reducing noise from nearby roads, providing additional greenspace, shade to reduce temperatures, and screening for privacy between homes.
City of Dublin: The Stubbs Park Tree Project have enhanced residents' quality of life by bringing more tree equity to three neighborhoods near downtown Dublin. As opportunity zones, these neighborhoods have experienced substantial tree loss in recent years. Planting trees and installing irrigation will help alleviate the tree disparity in the area.
Keep Golden Isles Beautiful: The Brunswick Community Orchard Project has planted "a patchwork of edible orchards" beside heavily pedestrian-travelled areas in Brunswick. The MLK Trail, Inez Williams Park, MLK Median and Miller Park, and Palmetto Park community orchards bring the total Brunswick Community Orchards to twelve.
To see a list of past Georgia ReLeaf grant recipients, click here.
And we thank the numerous individual donors for their contributions to Georgia ReLeaf over the years. You are helping us sustain Georgia's green legacy.