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2002 - Community Effort Award - Greater OKC Tree Bank

The tornado that cut a mile-wide swath of devastation through central Oklahoma on May 3, 1999, did more than destroy lives, homes and businesses. It also had a $10 million long-term economic impact from the trees lost.

The Greater Oklahoma City Tree Bank immediately launched Tornado Re-leaf, a replanting program for the Oklahoma City and three other communities in the metro area. The financial assistance offered to each community from the U.S. Forest Service was pooled and a firm was hired to develop detailed information on the tree canopy loss.

As a result of what our judges called brilliant planning and cooperation, groundbreaking technology has been developed to assess damage. Massive plantings already have taken place, Oklahoma City has achieved Tree City USA status and other affected communities have taken permanent steps for the first time to nurture their urban forests.

For its rapid coalition-building, multi-phased response to an environmental disaster, THE GREATER OKLAHOMA CITY TREE BANK IS NOT ONLY GOOD NEWS FOR THE REFORESTING OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA, IT ALSO IS A MODEL TO EMULATE FOR DISASTER RESPONSE TEAMS ACROSS THE NATION!