Skip to main content

What We Do

We plant Nebraska for healthy people, vibrant communities and a resilient environment.

We do this through tree planting, garden making, community building, and education.

  • Nance's Testimony

    When I consider what I could be proud of, nothing makes me feel better than the plants I’ve helped get planted. The trees that Bob helped me plant for my neighborhood association through a grant program. They were tiny, hopeful little things that are now becoming real trees that provide shade, shelter for wildlife and a healthier environment. Long after we’re gone, those trees will be there. How cool is that?
    -Nance Harris, Past NSA Board President

Our Impact In 2023

At the heart of our work is the mission to support communities throughout Nebraska when they have a sustainable landscaping or gardening idea, but need help accomplishing it. We work with their Green Teams to make a plan, coordinate the project and provide funding. From planting 10 free trees to multi-year green infrastructure installations, we do what it takes to Plant Nebraska for healthy people, vibrant communities and a resilient environment. 

  • Grant Dollars Distributed


  • Trees Planted


  • Plants in the Ground


  • People Reached


How to Beat City Heat

Green infrastructure such as perennials and tree plantings help mitigate urban heat island effect.

Today’s guest writer is Sarah Spilinek, the Community Landscapes & Forestry intern at the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and Nebraska Forest Service. She is a third-year landscape architecture student at UNL and has spent this summer helping to organize Bloom Box, coordinating grant projects, and working with native plants and trees.

Nebraska has had some intensely hot summers, and they seem to only be getting hotter! If you live in a town or city, you are likely feeling the effects of the heat even more than you would if you lived in a more rural part of the state. This is because urban areas have a lot of people, movement, concrete, buildings, and hardscapes that retain and produce heat much more than organic material does. This is what’s called the urban heat island effect. The good news is that urban heat can be reduced through the introduction of trees, plants and softscape in more densely populated or urban areas.

As a landscape architecture student, this is a problem that I and my peers are facing in the world of urban design and planning. How can we reduce this effect in urban areas? The answer will be no surprise: plants! Trees naturally offer shade, sequester carbon and release moisture into the air to combat these negative heat islands. Plantings minimize these effects as well, as they do the same while offering softscape alternatives to concrete and asphalt.

We’re seeing more and more green initiatives to bring in street trees and downtown native plantings. A more radical approach to reducing the urban heat island effect is through “greening.” "Greening" cities happens through the application of plants wherever possible, including green planted roofs, urban forests, urban parks or plantings on the sides of buildings. These green infrastructure projects will both reduce the temperatures of cities and improve air quality. Another approach is to use light, bright colors on hardscape surfaces. Lighter colors do not hold as much heat as darker colors, so a white roof will be a lot cooler than a dark one.

You may not work as a landscape architect or serve on a city planning board, but you can still help to mitigate urban heat island effect by planting trees to create more shade in your neighborhood, by replacing hardscape materials with plants or softscape and by supporting non-profits (such as NSA!) that partner with Nebraska communities to provide green infrastructure. Every individual can help our cities and towns move toward a greener and cooler future!

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

  • University of Nebraska logo
    University of Nebraska logo
  • NFS