Open Voices Blog

Archives for posts tagged as "trees"

From the Dark Wilderness to Neighborhood Centers

10/27/15 | View Comments

This Halloween week inspires images of witches weaving spells in the woods and ghostly creatures in the night. Groves and forests have been imagined as places where our ancestors roam, where the trees may reach out to grab you, or where a “Divine Sacred” dwells. The ancient Greeks consecrated “the finest among their trees to some divinity.”

The sacred often takes on spatial form, whether the scale of significance be individual or societal, and is often expressed as place. Lewis Mumford observed in The City in History (1961) that burial grounds, shrines, cairns and other sacred sites (including groves or forests) served as the nuclei of human settlements because they provided cultural magnets and prominent sites to which our nomadic ancestors would return.

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Learning From Partner Organizations

03/17/15 | View Comments

Each month in our Open Voices blog we share insight from leaders in our communities who are advancing what it means to have sacred, open green spaces in our cities. This month we spoke with Trees Forever Founding President Shannon Ramsay about urban forestry engagement possibilities in Iowa and across the United States.

For 25 years and counting, Trees Forever has helped thousands of community volunteers, civic leaders, government officials and landowners with local tree-planting projects and initiatives. The organization took its first step when Shannon Ramsay recognized a need. That combined with her ability as an entrepreneur to gather resources and citizen volunteers to plant trees in the Midwest. ramsay
Today, Trees Forever works with over 7000 volunteers annually and is a noteworthy model of independent civic initiatives. The organization is a major voice in Midwest local and state government, local corporations, and civic community partnerships. Trees Forever simultaneously supports those who want to take urban forestry into the political arena, those who participate in community plantings, and like-minded urban forestry groups who want to increase their capacity for change.

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    We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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