Trees are important elements of a healthy urban ecosystem. Unfortunately, the urban canopy in the Fort Wayne/Allen County, Indiana area has been shrinking in recent years.
While the City of Fort Wayne operates an active street tree program, this approach is limited to public property. Private properties, such as homes, churches, and businesses offer many more opportunities to plant new trees that can reach their full maturity. The Tree Canopy Growth Fund was developed to fill that gap, while also educating the community about the many benefits of growing and maintaining our urban forest.
Since 2017, TCGF cofounders Derek Veit and Kody Tinnel have collaborated on various tree planting efforts. Following multiple conversations about the need to get more trees planted on private property, they set out to develop the idea that would become the Tree Canopy Growth Fund.
Inspired by organizations like Root Nashville and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, we aim to collaborate with community stakeholders by offering funding and expertise to grow the community's urban canopy. As Fort Wayne and Allen County continue to grow and develop, maintaining a vibrant urban forest will be critical in maintaining a high quality of life.
Located in Indiana's northeast corner, Allen County is home to 380,000 residents. About 70% of the population resides within Fort Wayne, the second largest city in the state.
As one of the fastest growing metro areas in the region, this area has experienced substantial growth and investment in recent years. While this development creates economic expansion and opportunity, it can also come at the expense of green infrastructure. Combined with occasional disease infestations (most recently the Emerald Ash Borer), Fort Wayne experienced a canopy loss of 6% over the past 10 years.
Now is the time to invest in our canopy.
Famed landscape designer and planner George Kessler, who developed the Fort Wayne Park and Boulevard System, put forth a vision of placing 'the city within a park,' rather than the more common 'park within the city' approach. The intent was to allow every resident's walk around the block to be like a walk in the park. Over a century ago, Kessler understood how the proximity to green space and urban forests positively influenced quality of life for people.
Fort Wayne and Allen County have the opportunity to again focus on transformative investments in our urban forests in ways that pay homage to our past and help complement our growing future.
We are an all-volunteer team and welcome the time and talent of others who support the cause. Contact us to start a conversation!
As a public servant and arborist with over 25 years of experience practicing and studying arboriculture, Derek is passionate about fostering a resilient community for generations to come. When not talking trees, he can be found spending time with his wife and two sons (probably still talking trees).
Kody is a proud, lifelong resident of Fort Wayne with a growing passion for all things trees. He is involved in a variety of community organizations ranging from neighborhood associations to nonprofit boards and public commissions. Kody aims to help the greater Fort Wayne area reach its fullest potential however he can.
FORT WAYNE & ALLEN COUNTY