Trees and Public Health Partnerships

Advocates have long known that urban and community forestry is not so much an issue as it is a foundation upon which healthy, thriving cities, towns and suburbs are built. So when former SUFC chair Don Winsett and his Davey Tree client Jon Utech with Cleveland Clinic began talking about ways to build out the internationally renowned healthcare system’s sustainability program, the discussion naturally included the value of trees. Along with the critical environmental services that trees provide—stormwater management, greenhouse gas reduction, improved air quality, among others—Cleveland Clinic was quick to recognize the connection between healthy urban forests and improved health outcomes for their patients and the community as a whole. Now an SUFC member, Cleveland Clinic has become a staunch proponent and leader among its peers calling for smart policies and sound practices that incorporate trees as a critical tool for advancing public health.