Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests: A National Call to Action is a nationwide initiative, spearheaded by the U.S. Forest Service and  New York Restoration Project (NYRP), to promote and improve urban ecosystems and green infrastructure in our nation’s cities and municipalities. 

A national Task Force of 25 of the most visionary and respected municipal and state officials, national and local non-profit leaders, researchers, urban planners, and foundation and industry representatives were selected to participate in a workshop in April 2011 towards the realization of this objective. The three-day workshop addressed the future of our nation’s urban ecosystems and green infrastructure; incorporating the health, environmental, social and economic benefits they bring to sustainable and vibrant cities. The Vibrant Cities Task Force is currently crafting a vision, set of recommendations and action steps that will advance urban ecosystems and green infrastructure into the next decade and beyond. 

These recommendations – to be finalized by fall 2011 – promote environmental justice, support urban ecosystems research, encourage cross-agency and organization collaboration in green infrastructure planning as well as suggest ways to grow a sustainable green jobs workforce, establish consistent funding resources and educate citizens and youth to encourage stewardship and environmental action. The Task Force will use current urban ecosystems and green infrastructure best practice models to frame a set of Vibrant Cities & Urban Forests standards that will work towards the realization of all of the recommendations.

The recipients of these recommendations, which will be published in the Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests Report in October of 2011, will include the U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies as well as non-profit organizations, civic engagement groups, academic institutions and many other urban ecosystems stakeholders.

NYRP will be partnering with Alliance for Community Trees, the Arbor Day Foundation, the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, the Society of Municipal Arborists, the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition and others to promote and realize the recommendations of the Task Force, and to further grow support for the urban ecosystems and green infrastructure movement.

The VCUF Task Force was originally conceived by U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, USFS Deputy Chief of State and Private Forestry Jim Hubbard, USFS Northern Research Station Director Michael Rains, and NYRP.

Because of NYRP’s proven successes as a community-building and urban natural resources management organization and its significant work in leading MillionTreesNYC, the U.S. Forest Service tapped NYRP to lead the Vibrant Cities and Urban Forests: A National Call to Action initiative.

For more information on the Task Force, visit: www.vibrantcities.org.