The Insights Center features ideas, tools and resources on applying behavioral science to causes worth caring about. It includes the tools and thinking developed over nearly two decades of building behavior change campaigns and products. We hope they help you and your cause with the art and science of using behavior to spark real change.Go
City of Baltimore: TreeBaltimore
TreeBaltimore came to us with a simple goal: to increase tree plantings. They aimed to support the City’s goal of achieving 40% tree canopy cover by 2037.
Our research found that many residents loved trees — quite a lot, in fact — and recognized benefits such as shade and beauty. But for a significant number of people in Baltimore’s highly urbanized neighborhoods, trees also had both real and perceived drawbacks.
Trees can create a mess. Some residents worried they gave criminals a place to hide. And even those residents who wanted more trees were daunted by the planting process. So instead of just urging residents to plant trees, we helped make it easier for them to do it through step-by-step planting guidance and direct access to request free trees.
We also created a new branded event platform for community groups of all types to incorporate tree planting into their existing outreach and engagement activities called “Tree Ups.” The events were designed to help community groups have fun, socialize and give back to Baltimore through tree planting. Anticipating the collaboration required to pull off a Tree Up, we equipped TreeBaltimore with a comprehensive brand identity and style guide, an event planning template, collateral and training to ensure consistent delivery of the event experience. Tree Ups helped TreeBaltimore extend the reach of its mass tree planting events to groups not normally focused on urban forestry or environmental volunteerism.
Tree Ups helped TreeBaltimore extend the reach of its mass tree planting events to groups not normally focused on urban forestry or environmental volunteerism. They partnered with new community organizations, including the Skatepark of Baltimore, which held Tree Ups on National Skateboard Day two years in a row. After a modest media buy, a follow-up telephone survey found awareness of TreeBaltimore and Tree Ups was associated with increased community tree care, intention to plant and positive norms related to tree planting. Among people with brand awareness, 58% agreed TreeBaltimore materials they saw or heard about made them realize planting a tree can be easy, and 53% agreed that it inspired them to think about planting a tree in their own yard or neighborhood.