About us

Friends of Native Trees in Takoma (FONTT) is a group of Takoma Park MD community members who advocate planting native trees and other native plants in order to protect biodiversity.

We would like to see more land, both public and private, planted with native species and free of invasive plants. 

What we believe

Biodiversity loss and climate change are two sides of the same coin. 

Many people are relatively well-informed about climate change but know less about the threat from biodiversity loss and how it is intertwined with the climate crisis.

Planting trees tackles climate change through sequestering carbon and mitigating adverse climate effects, such as increased stormwater run-off and high summer ambient temperatures. But planting native trees does more than address climate change alone. At the same time that native trees help with climate change, they also protect biodiversity through providing habitat to the many species with which the native trees have evolved.

Before joining with my FONTT friends, I thought of trees in a largely aesthetic way (if I thought of them at all). Now I’ve come to understand their vital role in our ecosystem and in the richness of life, both human and non-human in this urban forest. FONTT nourishes our relationships to our environment, and to the people who care about preserving it.
–Pablo Wolfe

The trees in Takoma Park are amazing. They provide so many benefits – shade and cooling, beauty, soil health, sustenance for many species. I want to do what I can to ensure that native trees continue to thrive here. FONTT provides me with knowledge, action steps, a place for dialogue and understanding, and encouragement to plant, grow and protect native trees. It’s a valuable asset for our amazing trees.
–Diane Ives

What we do

We want to raise awareness about biodiversity loss and how planting native trees can protect biodiversity as well as address climate change.

FONTT uses a two-pronged strategy. First, we educate city leaders about how Takoma Park’s policies, practices, issues, etc. affect native trees and plants. Second, we look for opportunities to inform residents about the benefits of native trees and plants with the goal of motivating property owners to plant natives and remove invasives in their yards and on other land.

Our two main accomplishments to date have been,

My yard is a deforested piece of planet Earth.
I am in a unique position to heal it.
FONTT will show me how.

–Kopal Jha

Why you should join FONTT

FONTT offers members an easy and effective avenue for persuading the City of Takoma Park and its residents to take simple steps to protect biodiversity and safeguard the benefits that a healthy ecosystem provides to people and nature.

Membership fits well with busy Washington area lifestyles. Most members participate principally through reading periodic FONTT emails (5 min read max). We hope members will also stay informed by visiting our website, following our Twitter and Flipboard presence, and of course reading the native tree selection guide.

Those FONTT emails alone have proved effective in bringing change.  That’s how interested members signed on to proposals and comments to the City Council about a native tree policy – now written into the city’s tree ordinance and the council’s goals for the urban forest. 

We also believe that well-informed members can be an effective force for change simply by planting native trees and other native plants, and explaining to friends and neighbors why this is important. People are influenced by the viewpoints and actions of those they know.

Slowly but surely, FONTT members can instill and spread the viewpoint that we must become responsible stewards of our land, which entails planting native trees and other native vegetation, and removing invasive plants.

Joining FONTT is easy – and free.  Simply fill out the three-line form on the Stay in Touch webpage.