A Tree for Each Newborn in Florence

 

To the left, Dario Nardella during a tree planting in honor of the latest newborn in Florence

This week, mayor Dario Nardella and environmental councilwoman Cecilia Del Re planted tree number 1301 in the Bobolino Gardens as part of the “A Tree for Each Infant” project. The initiative launched in November 2019 and randomly matches a new tree to the tax code (codice fiscale) of a newborn or adopted child within town limits. There have been over 1,000 trees planted in honor of boys and girls born or adopted this year in efforts to build a greener and more child-friendly city. 

The Municipality has been working to achieve this goal through additional initiatives including green walls with vines outside in schools and new gardens and parks, all made possible by the participation of citizens and children, who are the protagonists of change. Del Re adds that during a difficult time, it is even more important to celebrate the birth of a new child with a symbol of life and hope. 

By the end of 2020, Palazzo Vecchio expects to plant another 700 trees throughout the public gardens in the city, including holm oaks, cherry trees, white willows, hornbeam, rowan, lime, and English oaks. The planting sites and species are identified based on need and season. In total, these additional trees will reach a total of 2,000 newborns and adopted children in the city. But this is only the beginning; the hope is to plant 20,000 new “green lungs” by the end of the mandate. 

Each tree planted in lieu of the project can be viewed by the parents via an online map of the Municipality. Thus far, over a thousand families have viewed their child’s tree online and look forward to watching the tree grow with their child. Parents are also notified of the planting of their child’s tree by a letter sent to them by the Ceremonial Office of the Municipality and signed by the mayor.

Florence is not the only Tuscan city investing in sustainability and care for the environment. Greve in Chianti, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, and Barberino Tavarnelle have made it a tradition to plant trees in public areas. There were 90 new trees planted in Greve for every newborn in 2019. Meanwhile, in San Casciano, a tree was planted and dedicated to 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to obtain the prestigious award.

In many ways, the pandemic has prompted the city to take an introspective look at their relationship with the environment. “A tree for each newborn” is only one of many initiatives which the Municipality has developed in order to not only make Florence a greener city but also bring the community together during this period of isolation as a “red zone” to limit Coronavirus infections.  (elizabeth berry)

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.