We had the good fortune of connecting with Aimee Esposito and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aimee, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Our nonprofit, Trees Matter, has a mission to inspire and promote an increased tree canopy in the Valley (Greater Phoenix Metro Area). By planting, caring, and educating our community on trees, we help make the Valley a safer, literally cooler, and more beautiful place. A big emphasis of our strategy is to focus on tree equity which means planting trees in areas that have disproportionately less trees due to lack of investment, infrastructure, and historical inequities like redlining. Our goal is to encourage people to be more connected to the trees that grow and thrive around us. Since the Phoenix area is a desert, our trees are different. We also have a big population of people that currently live but are not originally from the Phoenix area. Therefore there is a learning curve in understanding our trees and how to take care of them. Our temperatures continue to rise with more and more days of over 100 degrees F. Trees are one of the best ways to combat this heat by helping cool and shade our residents. Trees provide so many other benefits like reducing carbon pollution, reduce stress, provide food, and creating a sense a place. We are honored and proud to be driving this effort.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I always knew I had a passion for environmental advocacy and stewardship from an early age. I went to Arizona State University and received a Bachelor in Arts for English Literature and a Bachelor in Science for Geography. I then ventured to Monterey, California for a Masters Degree in International Environmental Policy at Middlebury Institute for International Studies. In graduate school I became very passionate about climate mitigation and adaptation policy. I moved back to Phoenix after school and found a nonprofit position for a tree program in a local permaculture nonprofit that focused on giving out trees with the utility companies to help reduce electricity bills. I moved my way up from coordinator to manager, and then to director of the program. In 2016 the organization decided to transition to a tree focused nonprofit based on the current capacity of the organization and the huge demand and need in the Phoenix area. I was asked to become executive director the the board and led the effort to rebrand our organization to Trees Matter and started our Trees for Schools program. It’s been 5 years since I became Executive Director and there was so much to learn on the job to make sure the organization was able to support the mission to inspire and promote an increased tree canopy in the Valley. There were many challenges due to lot’s of change and a learning curve. I worked many hours and tried to keep my focus on the positive impact the organization was making. My advice is to delegate what you can and prioritize what is most important with your time. The road to growth is to remember that this process takes time and your time should encompass all the things that you value so that you do not burn out. Now we are still growing and more and more people utilize our resources and programs. It is incredibly rewarding to see the organization thrive and grow with the support of so many amazing people, groups, and institutions.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Here is a list of my favorite places!

Places to enjoy local horticulture and wildlife:
Desert Botanical Garden
Gilbert Riparian Preserve
Audubon Arizona (now Audubon Southwest)

Great Eats:
Cornish Pasty
Glai Baan
Reathrey Sekong
Forno 301
Ritos Mexican

Cool Bookstores:
Palabras Bookstore
Changing Hands

Places to hang out and/or picnic:
The Farm at South Mountain
West side of Margret T Hance Park
Pueblo Phoenix

Coffee and Tea:
Songbird Coffee and Teahouse
Cha Chas Tea Lounge
Dark Hall Coffee
First Place Coffee

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shout out to the arborists who welcomed me with open arms when I first started as a tree program coordinator. They were the ones that were excited to share their knowledge and encourage me and our organization to grow and blossom into the nonprofit we are today. I also want to thank Katie Gannon at Tucson Clean and Beautiful who showed me what we could be and shared all the great work they do with their Trees for Tucson programming. Finally I want to thank Beverly Babb from Arizona Community Tree Council who I see as a mentor and supported me when I became Executive Director.

Website: www.treesmatter.org

Instagram: www.instagram.com/treesmatteraz

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/2942108/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/treesmatteraz

Facebook: www.facebook.com/treesmatteraz

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUKHyfP3ETRgpuZIx3ebZqQ

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