Tons of Trees Initiative

Project Profile

Project Location

Newport, RI

Project Lead

Newport Tree Conservancy


Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, USFS



Newport Tree Conservancy, in partnership with American Forests and the State of Rhode Island, planted 304 trees throughout the North End of Newport, RI, between Fall 2021 to 2022. Trees were planted around residential areas, low-income housing, and at key community gathering places – an elementary school, community center, and two local parks – throughout the North End to reduce urban heat, encourage recreation and outdoor living, and improve community health and wellbeing.

An economically disadvantaged community with poor health outcomes and low access to parks, open space, and tree canopy, the North End is a priority for the Newport Health Equity Zone (HEZ), a city-wide coalition working to create healthier communities. To identify planting sites, NTC worked with the Newport HEZ, the City of Newport, and the Newport Housing Authority, developing an inclusive community outreach plan with HEZ to engage residents throughout the tree planting design and implementation processes.

Trees planted on homes throughout the North End will provide shade to residents, create green streetscapes that encourage recreation, and screen pollutants from traffic on nearby streets. Trees planted at community spaces like Miantonomi Park, Coddington field, Pell Elementary, and Florence Gray Community Center will provide thermal refuge and promote mental health for families and community members as they gather together for learning, play, and relaxation. Long-term, residents will be engaged in NTC’s 3-year volunteer tree care plan to ensure the trees reach maturity, providing the benefits of shade, improved health, and recreation to the community.

Funding for this project was provided in part through an Urban & Community Forestry Grant from the RIDEM Division of Forest Environment, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service State Urban Forest Resilience (SUFR) Grant Initiative.”

Check out a snapshot of the project: Impact Report Summary

Every tree planting project demonstrates impacts that create a more just and sustainable future.

Human Health

Air Quality - 8
Urban Heat - 11
Active Living - 6
Wellness & Mental Health - 9
Social Health - 3

Social Equity

Inequity Context - 10
Site Selection - 5
Community Engagement in Design - 8
Community Participation in Implementation - 8
Economic Equity - 2


Site Prep & Implementation - 17
Climate Action - 11
Water Quality & Quantity - 3
Habitat, Food & Wood Production - 2
Bioremediation - 0

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs are a global call for action. These goals have the power to build a better future for everyone. Investment in this impact project drives action towards the following goals.

Good Health and Well Being

Newport’s North End scores very high on the Heat Vulnerability Index and has high rates of asthma and COPD. Trees planted will mitigate urban heat and reduce air pollution around local parks, homes, an elementary school, and community center.

Clean Water and Sanitation

Urban tree cover can decrease stormwater runoff. When trees reach 25 years old, they will intercept 343 cubic meters of rainfall per year.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Responsible sourcing of materials from local and reputable businesses can promote economic resiliency. Trees were purchased from a local nursery and planting supplies were acquired from local stores.

Reduce Inequalities

The North End is a priority site for the Newport Health Equity Zone. Trees were planted in residential areas and key community gathering places to increase accessible access to green space and the benefits of trees.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

To ensure social and political inclusion of residents, NTC worked closely with the Newport Health Equity Zone to develop a respectful and inclusive community engagement plan.

Responsible Production and Consumption

Trees lower cooling costs by reducing regional air temperatures and providing shade. Trees will provide an estimated $3,047 in annual cooling and heating savings when they reach 25 years of age.

Climate Action

Urban trees provide critical green infrastructure benefits. These trees will improve air quality, promote stormwater capture, and reduce heating and cooling costs, as well as store an estimated 137 metric tons of CO2 if maintained for 25 years.

Life on Land

A more ecologically diverse urban forest is more resilient to climate- and stress-related disturbances. Over 35 different tree species were planted throughout North End as part of this project, increasing habitat and food sources for urban wildlife.

Partnerships for Goals

Partnerships were a cornerstone of this project. NTC partnered with the Housing Authority, the City of Newport, American Forests, and the Newport Health Equity Zone to identify appropriate planting sites and develop an outreach plan. Residents and community groups joined the planting events as volunteers.

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