On a sunny October day, the National Association of REALTORS® President Leslie Rouda Smith breaks ground with a gold-plated shovel and a young sapling to kick off an initiative celebrating REALTORS®’ commitment to sustainability. This ceremonial tree planting is representative of the 1.575 million trees that will be placed nationwide by 2025 in a REALTOR®-led initiative to support sustainability and improve quality of life.
NAR is partnering with the National Forest Foundation to plant the trees—which represent NAR’s 1.575 million members—as part of a plan to beautify communities, improve quality of life and fight climate change. NAR will plant enough trees to remove 750,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere, which is equivalent to the annual electricity usage of 145,931 homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“As part of our association’s comprehensive sustainability and resilience plan, NAR is leading by example, like we always do,” says Rouda Smith, 2022 president of NAR and a real estate broker in Plano, Texas. “We’re helping to foster more vibrant communities by increasing the number of trees around us, delivering cleaner air, enhancing stormwater mitigation and encouraging biodiversity in ecosystems.”
NAR says the trees will be planted based on repopulation needs in areas affected by events like wildfires, drought or deforestation. The NFF plants only native, ecologically appropriate trees and targets areas that need the most help. Trees bring a wealth of benefits to communities and the natural environment, including:
- Helping to improve air quality.
- Restoring watersheds and helping with stormwater mitigation.
- Reducing pollution.
- Encouraging biodiversity in ecosystems and improving habitat access.
- Storing millions of metric tons of carbon each year.
- Encouraging outdoor recreation and supporting vibrant communities.
“The future of our national forests depends on partnerships like this one to sustain natural ecosystems, foster resilient forests and promote healthy communities,” says NFF President and CEO Mary Mitsos. “Each contributing dollar means one more tree planted to help to mitigate wildfires, offset carbon footprint, combat climate change and maintain 193 million acres of national forests.”
“This is more than a tree-planting campaign,” Rouda Smith says. “It’s a commitment to restoring the U.S. public lands that provide so much to all of us: clean drinking water, fresh air, a future for our children, and places to go play. As the Code of Ethics states, ‘Under all is the land.’”
The Smith Family is so committed to the environment and conservation that they purchased the trees planted on this day. NAR’s contribution to the National Forest Foundation will fund the planting of 1,575,000 trees on public lands across the United States of America.