Hudson Valley gets millions to plant trees, tackle heat islands

Groundwork Hudson Valley Leads the Charge in Mitigating Urban Heat Islands

Hudson Valley communities are set to receive a significant boost of more than $11 million in federal funding aimed at combating the effects of climate change on urban areas. This funding, which will support tree-planting initiatives and enhance youth education and job training programs, was announced by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer. Schumer’s efforts secured approximately $1.5 billion within last year’s $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act for the expansion of urban forestry initiatives.

A substantial portion of this funding, over $5.5 million, has been allocated to Groundwork Hudson Valley. Groundwork Hudson Valley intends to use these funds to expand its Youth Leadership program, which provides education and job training opportunities to young individuals pursuing careers in environmental sustainability. Karen Tumelty, the Director of Development for Groundwork Hudson Valley, shared that empowering the youth is pivotal in driving change to combat climate change.

Schumer emphasized the correlation between the growth of green spaces and brighter futures for communities. The Investment Reduction Act has significantly increased the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry funding, making these initiatives possible. Groundwork’s $5.5 million-plus allocation will support the development of curriculum and training programs in Yonkers, particularly at the Barack Obama School for Social Justice and Westchester Community College. These programs will lead to urban forestry certification. Notably, the grant represents a full-circle moment for Groundwork, as it previously mapped Yonkers’ heat islands, finding parallels with areas historically affected by redlining, a practice that excluded neighborhoods with larger minority populations from federal loan programs. This grant arrives alongside the appointment of a new executive director, Oded Holzinger, who played a significant role in correlating old redlining maps with current heat maps.

The City of Yonkers is among the Hudson Valley communities benefiting from this federal funding initiative, receiving a substantial allocation of $1 million. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s advocacy has played a pivotal role in securing this funding, with a focus on revitalizing neighborhoods and creating brighter futures. The grant will also support urban forestry certification programs in Yonkers and acknowledges historical disparities in federal programs. Groundwork Hudson Valley is deeply appreciative of Sen. Schumer’s efforts in advancing these critical initiatives. This funding will play a crucial role in supporting local efforts to combat climate change, enhance green spaces, and provide opportunities for youth education and job training.

For more information on the grant, please contact Karen Tumelty, Director of Development, at For media inquiries, please contact Candida Rodriguez, Director of Community Relations at

Read the Lohud article here.