As a couple, we have been members of Branch's Baptist Church in Richmond and active in the Spanish-speaking congregation for over a decade. And, now our four children are growing up in Branch’s. Over the years, as we watched our children play on the church’s playground, we’d notice the bright, hot sun and we’d imagine the beauty and shade of some trees. Not to mention the front lawn that, with many new trees, could become like a park and bring shade, color, and texture to an intersection otherwise lined with businesses and parking lots.
With the help, guidance and support of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we wrote and received a grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Trees for Clean Water program to plant over 100 trees around the church grounds. From coordination of the first planting event to guidance on ideal tree specimens and placement, the CBF has helped this idea come to reality.
The first stage of the project began one beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon in April. Over 125 volunteers from the Richmond community, from babies to senior adults of many different races and nationalities, came to plant 30 trees. Families, friends and community members worked together to learn and then follow the proper steps to plant trees, and then went home with their own saplings to plant at home from the CBF.
Thanks to this grant and the support of the CBF, the beautiful trees that we plant will transform the church visually, reduce storm water runoff, improve air purification, and provide habitat for local fauna and the comfort of shade for the public for future community events. And, now our children and others will play on a playground surrounded by trees they helped to plant.
In Spanish there’s a saying, "el que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija.” This literally translates as “whoever leans on a good tree is blanketed by good shade," meaning receiving guidance or help from a good source. For Branch’s, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation was the good tree we were able to lean on to help find that good shade we were seeking.