Taking Root puts grant money back into Make a Difference Day

Every October, thousands of volunteers across the country participate in Make a Difference Day. In the Queen City, hundreds of volunteers intend to plant as many trees as possible as part of a project called Taking Root

Taking Root launched in September 2013 in an effort to raise awareness of the region's tree canopy crisis. Its message is simply to educate people on the value and need for trees and how to care for them.

The goal is to plant two million trees in the region by 2020.

The project was one of 10 in the country to receive a $10,000 grant from the Make a Difference Day Foundation for its efforts in 2015. 

Taking Root's team plans to use the grant money to continue its mission — by reforesting the area.

"We're putting it right back into working with the community and doing more tree planting on Make a Difference Day," says Matt Stenger, Taking Root's executive director.

The Greater Cincinnati area has experienced a loss in its tree canopy due to pests like the Emerald Ash Borer and invasive plants. 

"We're losing a lot of trees in such a short amount of time," Stenger says. "Which is why this has become such a big crisis — not just for our region, but for the whole Eastern half of the United States."

Planting trees will go farther than just cosmetic value. The mere presence of trees can positively affect crime rates, mitigate storm water, sequester carbon, affect property values, and create habitats for wildlife.

Do Good: 

•   Attend the free, pre-Make a Difference Day workshop on Aug. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Civic Garden Center, 2715 Reading Rd.

•    Volunteer in your community on Make a Difference Day, which is Oct. 22.

•    Learn more about Taking Root and its campaign to reforest the region.
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