May 17, 2022
DaVita Teams Up With Arbor Day Foundation to Bring New Growth to Urban Communities
Photo of DaVita teammates, planting a tree May 11 at Berkeley Lark Park in Denver
A group of DaVita teammates work together to plant a tree May 11 at Berkeley Lake Park in Denver

In celebration of the 150th annual National Arbor Day, DaVita joined The Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) May 11 for a tree-planting event at Berkeley Lake Park in Denver. The event was one of six tree-planting or distribution events DaVita has collaborated with ADF to coordinate in 2022.

The spring planting season featured events in Nashville, Tennessee; Malvern, Pennsylvania; Denver, Colorado; and an additional event will take place in Tacoma, Washington later this year.

DaVita and ADF have collaborated since 2020 as part of DaVita’s commitment to supporting healthy communities. Over the course of their community tree program, it is expected that participating DaVita teammates (employees) and members of the community will plant and distribute more than 300 trees in urban environments that lack sufficient canopy.

With the help of Denver Parks and Recreation, nearly 50 volunteers from DaVita came together to plant 26 trees, which will serve the ecology of Berkeley Lake Park and the surrounding communities for future generations.

“Over the last 50 years it’s been outstanding to see corporations across the world take notice and want to get more involved in the environment,” said Becca Hebbard, corporate partnerships manager at ADF. “It means everything to see all of the volunteers out here. Trees don’t happen without a massive amount of teamwork and partnership.”

Mary Van Jacobs, administrator with DaVita’s Village Giving team, is especially passionate about sustainability and contributing to the environment, and helped lead collaboration efforts between DaVita and ADF. The event at Berkeley Lake Park was an important reminder for her of how meaningful teammate engagement can be.

“Meeting teammates and seeing all of the hard work come to fruition is so powerful and fulfilling,” Van Jacobs said. “It’s great to watch teammates meet one another and be able to teach them about how we can support our community.”

Community forests not only make our neighborhoods beautiful places to live, but promote health, well-being and sustainability of urban life. This includes filtering pollutants from the air and providing shade in low canopy neighborhoods.

The Park People—Denver’s oldest, most prominent city-wide park advocacy group—also joined DaVita and ADF for the Denver events. Kim Yuan-Harrell, executive director of The Park People, says the ecological benefits of planting trees are infinite.

“We also see that our mental and physical health are truly closely tied to having trees and greenery near us,” she said. “Our human bodies are adapted to be near natural environments, and in our cities, trees are a manifestation of nature in a really important way so that we can have better mental health and cognitive restoration.”

For Hebbard and ADF, the hope is for this year’s events to be the start of many more urban tree-planting events to come with DaVita.

“It’s really great to have a company like DaVita with a national footprint implementing these types of events all across the country.”