Trees Atlanta has announced its 2022 Tree Champions honorees for their extraordinary teamwork and dedication to the organization’s efforts to protect the urban canopy across metro Atlanta.
The Tree Champions will be celebrated at Trees Atlanta’s annual fundraising event Root Ball on Thursday, May 19, at The Stave Room.
Volunteer: Myrtle Lewin
Lewin has been volunteering with Trees Atlanta since 2003 and has coordinated the Tu B’Shevat planting for over 10 years. At 79, she has every intention of maintaining her work, whether by continuing to plant trees as she does regularly, by helping to organize projects, or introducing others to Trees Atlanta. Through her efforts, she said, “We’re not only planting trees; we’re planting tree planters.”
Neighborhood: Chosewood Park
Chosewood Park neighbors with Trees Atlanta and volunteers have planted over 300 trees in Chosewood parks, streetside, and front yards this year alone. They’ve continued forest restoration work in Chosewood Park in a multi-year project to remove large fields of invasive species and developed a visioning plan for a bridge that would connect the park to Gault Street that includes significant stream restoration and stabilization work.
Community: Westside Future Fund
Hundreds of trees have been planted in Historic Westside communities of Vine City, English Avenue, Ashview Heights and Atlanta University Center. Westside Future Fund invests in improving broader community access to the benefits of trees, by advocating for and designing projects with green infrastructure benefits that reach the most vulnerable communities. As explained by John Ahmann, President and CEO of Westside Future Fund, “A lot of environmental injustice issues happened in these neighborhoods. Part of what we’re doing, and trees and landscaping is part of that, is rectifying that.”
Corporate: Georgia Power
Georgia Power’s support for Trees Atlanta spans three decades. As a corporate sponsor and community partner, each year Georgia Power organizes employee volunteer tree planting and care projects, provides valuable expert consultation, connects us to equipment resources, and funds our work to reach more communities. Georgia Power helped Trees Atlanta launch a program to explore green infrastructure solutions to another pressing environmental challenge, stormwater management, and helped to expand the Youth Tree Team, a high school job training and leadership skills program. (Read more or view their video.)
Individual: Paul Zurawski
Zurawski has served on Trees Atlanta’s Board of Directors since 2014. His encouragement, business relationships, and fundraising helped add some of their most impactful new programs. Zurawski chaired the recent capital campaign to raise $10 million philanthropically to buy the land and build Trees Atlanta’s new headquarters in Oakland City and to continue to support tree planting and work along the Atlanta BeltLine. He was instrumental in helping to secure funding from Equifax Foundation to launch the Youth Tree Team.