Posted on June 29, 2022 at 3:04 AM, updated July 1, 2022 at 4:23 AM Print
Levin graduate Samira Malone (MUPD ‘20) says, “I always loved riding my bike under trees, playing underneath them, seeking refuge in the shade when it’s a million degrees out. I remember looking up at the trees and being amazed at how small they made me feel and almost protected.” Now, in turn, she is trying to protect the trees, according to an article by The Land. Malone recently became the first employee and director of the Cleveland Tree Coalition, an alliance of fifty-six government bodies, conservancies, tree companies, schools, hospitals, and community development corporations, that hopes to reforest the Forest City, especially in neighborhoods most in need.
Malone comes from a long line of activists and public servants, mostly teachers. She grew up feeling, “I had to do something that healed my city.” She graduated from the Levin College of Urban Affairs in 2020 with her Master of Urban Planning and Development, and worked at MidTown Cleveland from 2019 to 2022, most recently as neighborhood planning manager. There she oversaw the planting of 175 trees at the Dunham Tavern Museum and in public rights of way. She helped plan a remake of East 66th Street with more public and private trees than before. She also served on a city task force trying to revive the advisory Cleveland Tree Commission. In 2021, Crain’s Cleveland Business named Malone to its yearly honor roll of “20 in their Twenties.”
One of her first duties as director will be to oversee a strategic plan for the coalition. Meanwhile, she hopes to persuade funders that trees boost racial justice. She says trees are slow but profitable investments. “It’s going to take time, but they’ll benefit generations. Trees play such a huge part in our lives.”
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