Elon participating in urban tree-planting pilot program

On Feb. 25, 100 trees were planted in Price Park in Greensboro as part of an urban tree-planting pilot program. 

One hundred trees were planted in Greensboro’s Price Park by City of Greensboro and Greensboro Beautiful on Saturday, Feb. 25, by staff of the city and the organization, along with area volunteers that included a group from Elon University.

A crew including volunteers from Elon plants a tree during the urban tree-planting event on Feb. 25 (Photo courtesy of Urban Offsets)
The planting is part of an urban tree planting pilot program developed by Duke University’s Carbon Offsets Initiative (DCOI) and Urban Offsets. Elon University joined the program in the fall of 2016 and began working with DCOI and Urban Offsets to plan this project.  

In the southeastern United States, urban trees that are healthy and properly maintained sequester carbon dioxide during their lifetime. Carbon offsets generated by the tree planting will contribute toward Elon University’s carbon neutrality goal. A carbon offset is a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that is used to compensate for emissions from other activities. The university will need to utilize carbon offsets to achieve its carbon neutrality goal and would like to incorporate as many local and/or regional offsets as possible.

“This is a unique opportunity to make a positive environmental impact in a local community and receive verified carbon offsets,” said Elaine Durr, director of sustainability at Elon.

Locally sourced forestry offsets are a good fit for Elon. They have a positive impact on North Carolina communities and demonstrate environmental stewardship. This initial pilot project was located in Greensboro based upon land availability for the desired timeframe and proximity to Elon’s Law School. The university is interested in additional projects and locating future plantings in Alamance County.  

The City of Greensboro will maintain the trees planted in Price Park, and they will be monitored throughout the life of the project. On a regular basis, detailed data will be collected on the trees and reviewed by a peer institution to verify the carbon offsets generated. The goal is to involve Elon students in the data collection process of the project and possibly research projects.  

The Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative is responsible for helping Duke University meet its climate neutrality commitment through the development of innovative emission reduction projects. Urban Offsets is a North Carolina based start-up dedicated to helping institutions reach their climate neutrality commitments and cities plant trees.

The planting projects have created the nation’s first network of locally-sourced carbon offsets. Urban Offsets partnered with the City of Greensboro and Greensboro Beautiful to identify the planting location for this project. The experiences and lessons learned from this pilot program will be used to develop a best practices guide to inform the development of similar programs in other areas.