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Cool Trees, BV!

The momentum continues to build in Buena Vista for a bright green future. This week city leaders announced a new three-year grant to increase the tree canopy within City limits. Secured by Boxerwood in first-time partnership with the City, the $93,000 award from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) sets the stage for our new “BV Cool Trees” initiative.

 

The goal of the new project is to promote the economic and ecological well-being of Buena Vista by planting more shade trees across public and residential spaces.  This competitively awarded endeavor requires no financial contribution from either the City or Boxerwood, and is entirely funded by the Urban and Community Forest Program/VDOF and federal IRA funds, heralding a new era of sustainable growth for the Buena Vista community.


“It’s an honor to be selected for this project,” said Tom Roberts, Buena Vista Community Development Director, who worked closely with Boxerwood in developing the application. “This is the win for the City as well as its citizens and youth.” According to Roberts, the project is unusual in that it links upgrades in green infrastructure (the tree planting) with civic engagement. “That approach is the Boxerwood piece especially,” he said, noting the “BV Cool Trees” collaborative has both tree-planting and education/ workforce development components.

 

The project includes a paid youth internship program designed and led by Boxerwood for at least the next two summers. “We’re in the process of hiring ten PMHS teens for 3 weeks of work in June this summer,” explained Elise Sheffield, Boxerwood Education Director, “and we’re getting some great applicants.”

 

Operating from the heart of Buena Vista in the Ramsey Center on Magnolia Avenue, the teens will work with Boxerwood and the City on community outreach.  They will also meet with green professionals as part of career mentoring, and of course, plant and tend some of the project’s native trees. 


“Many of the PMHS interns grew up participating Boxerwood’s nature-based programs as part of their school day,” said Elise, “so it’s exciting that we can now work side-by-side with some of these teens in their own desire to help the Earth and their community. This project brings the Boxerwood earth care mission full circle.”

 

While Boxerwood is providing both education and administrative support, the project also receives technical support from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) in Charlottesville. In a pilot project for VDOF, the GIC which will help develop the City’s tree planting and maintenance plan, with all associated costs paid directly by VDOF. Selected for the pilot because of the Boxerwood partnership, this collaborative approach solidifies Buena Vista’s position as a trailblazer in sustainable development.

 

The project goal is to have at least 250 more native trees thriving in Buena Vista soil by the end of 2026. Beyond enhancing aesthetics, these trees offer myriad benefits to the community, from mitigating stormwater runoff to providing vital wildlife habitats. Reflecting on the opportunity, Elise noted "this project is a win-win in so many ways," mentioning the additional positive impact of trees on both physical and emotional well-being.

 

As this new project commences, we here at Boxerwood extend heartfelt gratitude to City officials and Buena Vista City Public Schools for their ongoing support and partnership. Guided by the unofficial project motto, “Bloom where we are planted,” we very much look forward to the transformative journey ahead.  

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