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The Grove Online Community Expands Nationwide

The Grove (www.AmericanGrove.org), an online community that brings together nature enthusiasts to plant trees and protect the urban tree canopy, is now open to residents across the country to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Forests, 2011.

The goal of The Grove is to enable members to share the experience of planting trees and commemorating life moments online with family, friends and their communities.

Members can upload pictures, videos and captions of their tree planting experiences, discuss tree-related issues and get updates on local planting events. The Grove also offers a tree match tool to choose the right tree to commemorate a special event, as well as information on planting and care tips.

“The Grove opens forestry discussions to a wider audience. It helps us tie tree-related issues with larger environmental awareness initiatives that resonate with online audiences,” said Ed Macie, the Southern Region Urban Forestry Group leader for the USDA Forest Service.

Created and funded by the Georgia Urban Forest Council (GUFC), the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) and the USDA Forest Service, the online community was beta tested in the Southeast in 2009 and 2010 before its national launch this year. In its beta stage, The Grove gained more than 1,400 members and almost 19,000 online visitors.

“After testing the online community at the regional level, we found that our target audience – individuals and families interested in sustainable living – wants to discuss forestry issues affecting their local communities online,” said Susan Granbery, urban and community forestry coordinator for the GFC. “Each state and territory has a specific group within The Grove so members can find local advice for national and global forestry issues.”

The Grove also connects families with information and activities to create green legacies.

“Parents can find information in The Grove to help them raise environmentally conscious children,” said Mary Lynne Beckley, executive director of GUFC. “From highlighting the benefits of planting trees locally to discussing grief by planting a tree in memory of a relative or pet, the online community provides information that is pertinent to families in their daily lives.”

To become a member, create a profile at www.AmericanGrove.org/TheGrove.

About Georgia Urban Forest Council

The Georgia Urban Forest Council (GUFC) is a nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of community forests and the importance of managing and protecting Georgia’s tree canopy. Its mission is to sustain Georgia's green legacy by helping communities grow healthy trees. For more information, visit www.gufc.org.

About Georgia Forestry Commission

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is a state agency responsible for providing leadership, service and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia’s forest resources. Through the Sustainable Community Forestry Program, GFC focuses on the future of trees by helping community leaders recognize the value of trees and plan with them in mind, which translates into cleaner air and water and healthier, safer, more attractive places to live, work and play. For more information, visit www.GaTrees.org.

USDA Forest Service

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of National Forest System land, provides stewardship assistance to non-federal forest landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. For more information, visit: www.fs.fed.us.

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