The group asked city leaders if they could plant trees in parks and various places around town, and so Trees NC was born.

Trees NC began working with the Central Boys & Girls Club early on. They purchased a seedling of a sycamore tree from a church where Martin Luther King, Jr., gave one of his famous speeches, and planted the tree with the Boys & Girls Club on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to engage the youth. Today that tree is nearly 40 feet tall, and Trees NC has been working with local youth ever since, training them in a variety of skills, including tree planting and maintenance, river and stream awareness, recycling and litter control, organic vegetable gardening and nutrition.  Most important, Trees NC builds community and uplifts career exploration, connections and more.   

Our Role

Resourceful Communities has worked with Trees NC for more than 10 years, providing hands-on training and support to help the group cultivate additional resources and improve their marketing, impact reporting and online presence. Resourceful Communities facilitated a university partnership to support participatory design for Trees NC’s restoration of the historic Female Academy, which is being renovated as an outdoor education site. 

With help and guidance from friends like Resourceful Communities, we’ve learned how to refine our programs, build partnerships and develop strategies for long-term results.” 

—Owen George, Trees NC Founder

Trees has also used several small grants from Resourceful Communities to support environmental education and career development for at-risk youth.  Most recently, they used funding to support YES! East Side, an urban gardening and family food education project that will provide fresh vegetables and fruit for 750 youth and adult residents of Asheboro’s East Side, replacing the current food desert with a Food Oasis. The nearly 30 raised beds and grove of 50 fruit trees in the East Side Garden and Grove were all planted with the help of youth from the Boys and Girls Club and the adjacent senior center. Trees NC has also teamed up with Randolph County's Master Gardeners program, which is providing volunteer support at the garden and sharing valuable expertise with the program’s youth gardeners.  

Why This Project Matters

Well over 1,000 young people have come through Trees NC’s programming, connecting with nature and learning valuable life skills along the way. In addition to providing increased access to healthy fruits and vegetables, Trees NC has used nature, the arts and cultural heritage to bring the community members together as environmental and community advocates. In 2016, Asheboro even received the All-American City Award from the National Civic League, with Trees NC as one of three featured organizations in the city’s bid to demonstrate its success in community engagement and problem solving. 

Moving forward, the work of Trees NC is also serving as an important model for environmental education not just in Asheboro, but in other communities as well. Trees NC is now using their website as a "tool box" to help other under-resourced communities in the state achieve the same success in environmental education and community involvement. 

“Although we were established as an environmental organization, we wanted to initiate change in underserved and troubled places in our community. The idea was that our work on the environmental side - improving a place and even beautifying it, would shine a light and nudge others to join in.” 

—Owen George, Trees NC Founder

Trees NC: Improving Lives and Communities by Planting Trees

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