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Expanding The City’s Tree Canopy

One local man is doing his best to ensure that Fort Wayne stays greener in the months and years to come.

In January of this year, Kody Tinnel started a new program he called the Tree Canopy Growth Fund, looking to protect, preserve, and expand trees and tree coverage in the city.

“This is truly brand new,” said Tinnel, who started the program with his partner, Derek Vit. “We just launched in January, and we’re trying to model this after programs in other parts of the country.”

To get the best start possible, Tinnel looked to other cities with successful tree programs as a model for Fort Wayne’s effort. Included in his study were Indianapolis’ Keep Indy Beautiful and Nashville, Tennessee’s Roots Nashville.

Tinnel’s first step on his tree journey was to launch his effort’s website and Face book page. The next was to begin fundraising for his effort, and third, begin planting trees around the city.

Soon, Tinnel hopes to start pilot programs that will see new trees planted in private properties around the city, mostly in areas such as school and church grounds.

“We just realized that there’s more opportunity to plant on private property,” he said. His group also wants to begin recruiting volunteers to help with the tree-planting effort.

Tinnel believes an effort like his is crucial now, because during the last few years, Fort Wayne has lost a significant amount of its tree coverage. “Over the last 10 years,” he said, “our city has lost 10 percent of its tree canopy coverage.”

Having worked previously as a neighborhood leader in one of the neighborhoods of the 46807 ZIP Code in the city, Tinnel went to work with the Fort Wayne Superintendent of Forestry to craft an initiative to tackle the problem.

The group’s own website explains that their mission is one that not only makes the city greener, but healthier, as well.

“The Tree Canopy Growth Fund fosters community health and well-being by growing the urban forest through tree planting and advocacy. Current efforts are focused on enhancing the urban canopy in and around the Fort Wayne, Indiana area.”

The effort’s fund is managed through the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne and all contributions to the fund are tax-deductible.

Tinnel notes that expanding and protecting the city’s tree canopy is important, not just for the heath of our city, but for the world at large.

“Worldwide, there’s a crisis going on with our air quality,” Tinnel said. “And we want to make sure Fort Wayne does its part to improve that.”

Tinnel also added that he wants to ensure trees are a part of the development trend currently going on in the city. “There’s so much going on right now with new developments and building. We just want to make sure trees are a part of the future of Fort Wayne.”

Tinnel hopes not only to replace the trees and cover already lost in the city, but add additional trees to help beautify and shade residents’ homes and neighborhoods. “This is not just in defense of the tree canopy we’ve lost,” he said, “but we want to add to the trees that are already here.

“Trees make up a big part of the city’s community health and well-being aspect,” he explained. “They give us stress reduction, as well as protection and beauty.”

Tinnel said his group’s ultimate dream is to preserve and expand our city’s tree coverage.

“We’re dreamers,” Tinnel said, “but what we ultimately want to do is regain our canopy and keep growing that over the years.”

If you’d like to find more information about the program, visit www.tcgfund.org

Michael Morrissey

Michael Morrissey

Michael is a professional writer and journalist. He attended South Side High School and Northwestern University. He has written for newspapers in Michigan City, Indiana; Pekin, Illinois; and Bradenton, Florida. He also has written for and edited websites in Florida and San Francisco, California. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer