ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Area non-profit Cornell Cooperative Extension has received funding that will be used to examine how tree canopy in urban areas in Rochester — specifically the MarketView Heights neighborhood — contributes to the area’s health disparities, as well as environmental health. The $10,000 in funding is through the University of Rochester Environmental Health Sciences Center.

According to data provided by CCE Monroe, neighborhoods that primarily have low-to-moderate-income residents have on average 25% less tree canopy compared to wealthier neighborhoods. The non-profit says this data comes from an analysis of “income, employment, age, ethnicity, health and surface temperature with tree canopy data in 486 metro areas.”

CCE Monroe defines Tree Canopy Coverage as “the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above.” Primarily, trees and the canopy helps cool and regulate temperatures; CCE Monroe says this differential can be up to an average of 10 degrees.

Climate change is slowly raising temperatures in cities, and data is showing more heat-related deaths. CCE says more tree canopy can help lower temperatures, and possibly prevent some of these deaths. Related data also says that more tree coverage can help improve the look of a city, protect local wildlife, and could also raise property values.

Many cities across the US have this issue, says CCE, but for communities that have been redlined, it is worse. CCE points specifically to Rochester’s MarketView Heights neighborhood. They say this new initiative will help address this tree coverage disparity.

The proposal to help enact these changes includes:

  • 600 home canvass of the MarketView Heights Neighborhood to pass out educational materials, gather community input
  • Meetings in summer of 2022
  • 30 trees to be planted, with “guidance” from the City of Rochester Forestry Department across 600 households in the fall