⚠️ This is a beta site. We welcome feedback! ⚠️

How can the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department increase uptake of its EquiTree Program?

Department or Agency: Parks and Recreation Department

Share this project

Environment & ClimateEquity & InclusionNeighborhoods

Project Overview


To improve San Antonio’s tree canopy and to help address inequities of tree coverage in lower-income, high-need sections of the city, the Parks and Recreation Department offers residents in these neighborhoods free 30-gallon trees through its EquiTree Program. Tree planting is executed in collaboration with external vendor(s).

Residents are informed of this opportunity via a bilingual (English/Spanish) door hanger with a detachable postcard that allows them to express interest in obtaining a free tree. After the Parks and Recreation Department receives the postcard, the resident’s information is recorded and sent to a vendor, who then contacts the resident with details about next steps, typically via a phone call.

The Parks and Recreation Department is invested in increasing uptake of its equity tree program, which currently sees an average response rate of 10% to the door hangers, and a conversion rate of approximately 75% at the second point of contact (i.e. from expression of interest via postcard to obtaining a tree).

The goal of this project is therefore two-fold:

  1. to understand what reservations residents may have about obtaining a free tree, uncover any process barriers that may exist, and determine how program communications and/or processes might be improved to increase free tree planting initial uptake.
  2. to determine the root causes of response drop off after residents express interest, as well as to identify and test ways of increasing the conversion rate via process improvements or other suggested methods.

Anticipated deliverables

  1. Written memo summarizing potential resident concerns about and barriers to opting in for a free tree, as well as recommendations for increasing uptake of the program. 
  2. Redesigned and tested communications plan. 
  3. Written memo summarizing root causes of conversion rate drop off and tested suggestions for improvement.

Planned use of results

The Parks Dept would implement suggested program design/outreach recommendations for a select sample of the next distribution rounds.

The project is in progress.

We plan to post results and deliverables when the project is complete. In the meantime, we welcome questions about the project.

Project point of contact

Meredith Tilley, CPRP, CIG

Senior Management Analyst – Urban Forestry

San Antonio Parks & Recreation

Project Team

City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation

City of San Antonio Office of Innovation

City of San Antonio

Dr. Ryun Jung Lee

Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning, Architecture and Planning

University of Texas at San Antonio

Dr. Christopher Reddick

Professor, Public Administration

University of Texas at San Antonio

Roger Enriquez, J.D.

Associate Professor

University of Texas at San Antonio

R+D logo

This portal is part of a pilot initiative to support applied research partnerships. If you have ideas for how to further improve it, please let us know!