by Andreas Hunkeler
What do cities like Aachen, Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt am Main, Karlsruhe, Cologne, Leipzig, Mannheim, Nuremberg and Weimar have in common?
They all have tree sponsorships.
The forms of these tree sponsorships are different: some cities have donation sponsorships, others casting sponsorships, and still others tree grate sponsorships. And some cities have all shapes at the same time.
The increasing need for watering urban trees is the main reason for this trend. Due to the longer dry periods and higher average temperatures, city trees increasingly require more irrigation (see text: Increasing problems for city trees). Yes: City trees can shade our cities and cool them through evaporation, but they themselves suffer greatly from climate change. Healthy city trees are for the urban microclimate central, but for this they must be healthy and have enough water.
In addition to the increasing need for watering, there is also a growing ecological awareness among the population. More and more people want to make their environment more ecological, more beautiful and more sustainable.
At the same time, cities and municipalities seem to have less and less financial means at their disposal.
The Bavarian Federation of Nature Conservation writes:
“Despite all these burdens, many city gardening authorities can only provide basic supplies for the stressed street trees because of the tight financial situation in many cities. City trees and especially street trees are therefore dependent on additional care and maintenance by committed residents. "
And this is where tree sponsors come in: They donate new trees and take care of the existing trees on the doorstep.
And the cities are increasingly supporting this voluntary commitment.
Berlin, for example, has created its own website and mapped all the trees in the city. On the website https://www.giessdenkiez.de/ Citizens can find out about the water requirements of the individual trees and mark which trees they have watered.
Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg With the support of baumbad, gave the tree godparents watering bags so that they can water the trees in their neighborhood particularly effectively. Why particularly effective? The bags are filled quickly, the water can be measured and then slowly trickles into the ground. This makes it easier for the godmothers to keep track of how much water they are giving the trees, depending on the needs or recommendations of the municipal companies. And the tree can absorb the water better.
In Nuremberg, the tree sponsors receive a voucher of 50 € for the individual planting of their tree grate. The online activist and filmmaker Alex Cio reports in a YouTube film about these tree sponsorships in Nuremberg. In this short film we see the tree sponsor Daniel who takes care of two tree grates and spends his own money on upgrading the tree grates with additional plants. Daniel plants, waters, mulches and collects rubbish on the tree disc. He does all of this for free.
Alex Cio says in this film: "You can ask yourself how you want to save the world when we think about how we can solve the big problems and not even manage to keep the flower beds in front of the front door clean."
And he also says:
"And yes, you see, it is very easy that somehow you do something good, think about something that could make others happy"
To do something good, to make your own contribution to the community - in your own city, on your own doorstep. That seems to be the main motivation for many tree sponsors.
The motivation of tree sponsorships
Many people have a growing ecological awareness. You see pressing global problems and want to work for a more sustainable world. As a tree sponsor, many see the opportunity to get involved in the immediate vicinity and make a meaningful contribution to society. But there are other reasons as well.
The geographer Miriam Gruber has one in the science journal Springer Studie published about green sponsorships in Bonn. She writes about the motivation of the tree sponsors:
«For most godparents, sow comes firstberkeity and aesthetics. Several have started their engagement out of anger about constant garbage in the tree grates in their living area. In addition, it is important for those involved to be able to design their environment according to their personal ideas, as one godmother describes: 'I want it to be nice where I live'. Several respondents also cite the joy of gardening as a reason for sponsoring, especially if they do not have a garden themselves »
Gruber writes that the tree sponsorships would also improve communication and a sense of responsibility in the neighborhood. The godparents would be approached by people who would otherwise never have approached them in the street. And at the same time, the inhibition threshold for throwing away rubbish and for vandalism is increasing when flower beds are clearly cared for privately.
Advantages for the cities
So what are you waiting for? Tree sponsorships have advantages not only for the sponsors, but also for the cities.
Miriam Gruber writes in her study: "Parallel to these initiatives emerging from civil society, politics and administration have recognized the potential that committed citizens represent for the preservation of urban greenery, especially in times of highly indebted cities and correspondingly scarce municipal resources"
She names two other reasons for the city of Bonn to apply for green sponsorships: On the one hand, it is important for the city administration to accept civic engagement. On the other hand, the employees of the city administration see this as an opportunity to promote identification with urban green spaces.
We support BaumRetter
Are you interested in tree sponsorships? We support cities, communities and private individuals who want to work to preserve our trees. We are happy to support you with our experience and our network. We have developed our own service program for tree sponsorships that we are happy to share with you!