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March 2024
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Southwest Gas and Trees Matter Beautify Local School with Tree Donation, Newly Planted Vegetable Garden, and 100 ft Mural
By Brian O'Malley - Tuesday Apr 04, 2023
As part of Southwest Gas’ commitment to sustainability and giving back to the communities it serves, the company partnered with Trees Matter for a beautification project at Glenn L. Downs Social Sciences Academy, a Title I school in Maryvale on Saturday, April 1.

As part of a $30,000 donation by Southwest Gas Foundation to help Tress Matter further its mission to increase the Valley’s shade canopy, more than 90 employees, their family members and friends joined volunteers from Trees Matter to plant 20 trees, paint a 100 ft. mural designed in collaboration with the school’s principal, and plant vegetables in garden boxes on campus.

“As an energy services provider, giving back to the community and exceeding customers’ expectations is a central part of the Southwest Gas culture and commitment to sustainability,” said Dr. Laura S. Nelson, vice president of Sustainability and Public Policy. “By expanding the Valley’s tree canopy through this project with Trees Matter, we are helping to provide many benefits, such as improved air quality, cooler temperatures, ecological restoration, and climate resiliency. Not only will the students at Glenn L. Downs Social Sciences Academy enjoy the benefits, so will the entire Maryvale community.”

For 2023, the company’s volunteer efforts will center around the vision for a sustainable future, “Sustainability, Environment & Beautification,” which creates events that benefit the environment and strengthen communities. By focusing on schools, parks, and other areas and in partnerships with local nonprofit partners, these events will center around tree planting in underserved neighborhoods.

Trees Matter is a Phoenix-based environmental education nonprofit, whose mission is to inspire and promote an increased tree canopy in the Valley. Through their “Trees for Schools” program, they aim to get more tree infrastructure into schools and provide learning opportunities for students on the importance of trees and tree care. This partnership is a great representation of Southwest Gas’ dedication to responsibly advancing sustainable environmental practices, as well as offering community support to decrease greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

“As a Trees Matter partner, Southwest Gas understands the importance of working in communities across the Valley that have historically not received the same investment in trees. According to American Forests, Tree Equity Score Map, Glenn L. Downs Social Sciences Academy resides in a high need area for trees with a score of 63 out of 100,” says Aimee Esposito, executive director of Trees Matter. “Southwest Gas didn’t just invest by funding the trees, they have been an involved partner who listened to the school’s needs and went above and beyond. They brought volunteers and their own family to support this project and participated in the tree planting, improvement of the school’s garden beds, and creation of the large mural that will provide an environment the kids are excited to be a part of every day.”

Southwest Gas employees contribute millions of dollars in financial support and thousands of hours in service to worthy non-profit organizations each year. The Southwest Gas Foundation contributed over $900,000 to 79 local nonprofit agencies across Arizona in 2022 alone.

The beautification project kicks off National Safe Digging Month, a time every April to remind do-it-yourself homeowners, contractors, and construction crews about the importance of calling 811 prior to starting any digging project. It’s important to know that one easy, free phone call to 811 quickly begins the process of getting underground utility lines marked for free. Call 811 is for residential and commercial digging jobs of all sizes, from planting trees and mailbox installation to large construction projects. Completing this process before starting any digging project is critical to preventing accidents. Learn more about the process at swgas.com/safety.