RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond community members are invited to participate in the Greening Public Libraries Initiative by planting trees at the North Avenue Branch Library on Nov. 14.
Justin Doyle, Director of Community Conservation for the James River Association, has been
overseeing the Greening Richmond Public Libraries Initiative. The goal of the initiative is to
provide green infrastructure like rain gardens and street trees that help with storm-water runoff to libraries across Richmond.
According to Doyle, trees planted will provide myriad benefits for the library and the
community — expanding shade, filtering air pollution, stabilizing soil and providing a habitat and food for native animals.
Doyle said volunteers will go to North Avenue Branch Library from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 14
to plant 30 native trees.
“Over the last few years, we have been using Richmond Public Libraries as a catalyst for
community greening,” Doyle said. “We’ve been working with Richmond Public Library,
Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities, RVAH2O and local landscape architects to design
and implement green infrastructure for library branches here in the city.”
The James River Association leads the initiative. According to its website, the association’s
mission is to promote conservation and restoration of the James River as well as help
communities benefit from the natural resources the river provides.
Four libraries have already been given new trees and infrastructure to aid with rainwater, and
North Avenue Branch Library is the next to receive benefits from this initiative. Doyle said he
hopes all nine Richmond Public Libraries will receive new green infrastructure in the next few
Craig Gill-Walker, Branch Manager for the North Avenue Public Library, said he hopes the trees
will draw more people to the library and create a stronger sense of community with the beauty
the trees will bring.
“One of the big things about the library is that we have families that walk around with their
strollers then come inside to read books,” Gill-Walker said. “And I think this is really going to
help people feel more invited and welcome.”
The trees will also help cool down the areas surrounding the library, which will allow
patrons to enjoy the outside during the hot summer months.
The James River Association will also give out trees to Richmond residents who signed up for a
tree on Nov. 11. All residents are eligible to sign up and receive a tree, Doyle said.
Alongside the James River Foundation, Truist and Arbor Day Foundation are helping to fund the
project, said Erin Hillert Director of Marketing and Communication for the James River.
According to its website, the Arbor Day Foundation is an international non-profit organization
that has planted 500 million trees in the 50 years after its founding in 1972. Their mission is to
plant native trees in areas lacking in biodiversity, and they are now helping Richmond through
their partnership with the James River Foundation.
“The Arbor Day Foundation is dedicated to helping our local planting partners unlock the
transformative power of trees in their community,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor
Day Foundation. “Trees clean our air, cool our cities, and improve the lives of the people around
them. We’re happy to help the James River Association maximize the impact of their urban
canopy and inspire more people to engage with nature in a meaningful way.”