Learning from regional best practice models of Urban Forestry will be the topic of the "second Wednesday" GAINS (Greater Akron Innovation Network for Sustainability) meeting March 8 at the Bit Factory on the 5th Floor in the Akron Accelerator, 526 S. Main St. Akron. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. the free program begins at 6:15 p.m.

Urban Forestry strategies include tree plans which can be either "city generated" or "community generated" and are recognized as an important component of neighborhood revitalization initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for all citizens while addressing the future challenges that come with redevelopment, a new economy, and climate adaption strategies.

Plans are developed to provide solutions that intercept rainwater, remove air pollution, reduce energy costs, improve public health, maintain habitat for wildlife, prevent erosion and create safer spaces for the public by slowing traffic speeds, lowering stress, and providing pedestrian buffers.

Speakers for the evening will include: Chad Clink, Community Forester with The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland. He is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and Registered Consulting Arborist whose work focuses on assessing, planning and promoting the many benefits of urban forests. He will speak on The Cleveland Tree Plan and Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Vibrant Green Space project. In addition the City of Akron's goal to establish a vibrant urban canopy cover that meets the American Forestry Service recommendation of 40 percent coverage will be discussed.

The Cleveland Tree Plan is a unique communitywide collaboration to rebuild the urban forest in Cleveland through the partnership of the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Holden Arboretum, LAND Studio and Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Over 50 stakeholders were engaged to assess the current urban forest, determine a unified vision for the future, and develop a way forward together.

Akron's "city generated" tree plan is a $59 million dollar investment according to John Malish, city of Akron landscape tech III.

Regional adoption of strategies like the Cleveland Tree Plan acknowledges patterns of extreme weather, lengthy heat waves and increased precipitation associated with climate fluctuations that can affect Great Lake cities not just coastal regions. According to the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program (GLISA), temperatures are rising three times faster in Cleveland than elsewhere in the U.S. and Cleveland's specific social conditions and land use patterns exacerbate the adverse effects of climate change, observers say.

GAINS is a local gathering of sustainability practitioners who focus on advancing innovative ideas, and sustainable values and practices in the marketplace. The salon-style meetings are free and interactive and open to anyone interested in learning about and engaging with community partners on the leading edge of sustainability.