What is an Urban Forest?
Urban forests come in many different shapes and sizes, including parks, street trees, river corridors and nature preserves. Urban forests help filter air, conserve energy, control stormwater, reduce the heat island effect, provide animal habitat and offer shade for people who travel by foot, bike and other transportation options in highly urbanized areas.
Equally important, they add beauty and provide a place for people to gather and strengthen social cohesion and a sense of community.
The Vision for Urban Forestry in Solano County
We envision our Solano County neighborhoods green with trees and plants that support diverse ecosystems and provide shade, food and habitat for wildlife. These are neighborhoods that build community while building healthy soil and nurture connection to the environment and with each other.
We would love to see thriving communities that recognize trees and diverse ecosystems as an integral part of their surroundings. Communities will experience better health and well-being from the urban forest through reduced energy costs, reduced pollution and softened city noise as it simultaneously reduces the heat island effect in each city.
We envision Solano County residents viewing the urban forest as an important part of their city’s character and as an indicator of the city’s health and livability as urban forestry greatly enhances the environmental, economic and social well-being of the city.
Solano County’s First Urban Forest: Shelter Solano
Sustainable Solano is planting 60 additional trees throughout Shelter Solano, a local Fairfield homeless shelter, through a grant from the California ReLeaf Social Equity Tree Planting Program.
The project, titled Urban Forest “Vision Solano,” is converting a 3.5-acre campus into a resilient, mixed-canopy urban forest complete with California native drought-tolerant trees and fruit trees. These trees are fed through secondary water sources such as a laundry-to-landscape greywater system, rain barrels and roof water where possible. This urban forestry project will provide greenhouse gas reduction benefits, healthy “zero-carbon” produce, and educational and job training opportunities for over 150 Shelter Solano residents. It creates a beautified shared space for all of Solano County to enjoy and learn from.
In 2018 and 2019, we are offering a series of hands-on workshops, free and open to all, where community members can help participate in the creation of this urban forest that will serve as a living lab on the campus: a teaching ground on sustainable landscaping practices and urban forestry for local communities.
Long-term benefits of this project will include the restoration of soil and soul, water and energy conservation and groundwater recharge. We are thrilled to create a place of peace and beauty for the most vulnerable members of our community.
Funding for this project is provided by California ReLeaf and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program.