A tree planting and heat preparedness program

for Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward acres, CA


Our work:

heat and health

The average number of extreme heat days per year in Alameda County (hotter than 92.6° F) is expected to increase from 5 to as many as 15 by 2050. Our Heat Preparedness program connects residents to cooling strategies and community capacity building efforts that will help them stay cool as the climate warms.

free shade trees

Tree planting is a simple and effective way to reduce the effects of heat by providing shade and cooling down the built environment. Our Free Shade Trees program aims to keep Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres cool into the future by helping plant and maintain free shade trees on private property.


Cooling Our Communities promotional video written and produced by youth from the REACH Ashland Youth Center Arts & Creativity Program



Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward acres

Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres are diverse East Bay communities in unincorporated Alameda County that are home to large percentages of young children, low-income residents, people with disabilities, and immigrants. Known historically as the “Eden Area” for its green abundance, these communities are now largely developed, with less than 0.5% tree canopy cover*.

These factors combine to make Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres vulnerable to the impacts of extreme heat waves and climate change.

Through the Heat and Health and Free Shade Trees initiatives, Cooling Our Communities aims to help Ashland, Cherryland, and Hayward Acres stay cool and develop resilience in response to heat impacts associated with climate change.

*Source: mrlc.gov, NLCD 2011 USFS Tree Canopy cartographic (CONUS)




Who we are

Cooling Our Communities is a program of the Alameda County Planning Department, Public Health Department, and Sustainability Office, with funding from the Coastal Conservancy’s Climate Ready Grant Program using Cap-and-Trade dollars, and community outreach support from Resources for Community Development (RCD).

program partners


Alameda County Community Development Agency, Planning Department: The Planning Department plans and oversees new development and redevelopment plans, creates policy for land use, and regulates, monitors and enforces County Zoning Ordinance. As a part of the county initiative to implement the Community Climate Action Plan and Vision 2026, the Planning Department is working to develop and implement climate adaptation policies and programs in the unincorporated communities. Through the Cooling Our Communities program, the Planning Department is expanding green infrastructure efforts to address the heat and health effects from the changing climate.

Alameda County Public Health Department: The Public Health Department has an array of programs and services designed to protect the health and safety of County residents, including assessments of the health status of residents, disease prevention and control, community mobilization and outreach, policy development, education, and assurance of access to quality medical and health care services. Within the context of the Cooling Our Communities Program, the Public Health Department is assisting in researching the social determinants of health in the context of climate and providing residents with effective cooling strategies to address increased heat.

Alameda County Office of Sustainability: The Office of Sustainability takes action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save resources, and reduce waste within County operations, and to help the County’s diverse agencies prepare for the impacts of climate change. Through the Cooling Our Communities program, the Office of Sustainability is working to support sustainable efforts within the unincorporated communities and assist in climate education.

Resources for Community Development: RCD creates and preserves affordable housing for people with the fewest options, to build community and enrich lives. RCD has contributed to developing a healthy community through their work with the Ashland Cherryland Healthy Communities Collaborative and the development of the Eden Area Municipal Advisory Council. Within the context of the Cooling Our Communities Program, RCD will focus their efforts on engaging the community and providing climate change adaptation resources and knowledge to promote resilience and livability.



Coastal Conservancy: The Coastal Conservancy is offering support through their Climate Ready Grant Program, which seeks to help natural resources and human communities within the San Francisco Bay Area to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Conservancy is also working to capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through the conservation of natural and working lands. Through the Climate Ready Grant Program, Cooling Our Communities supports the Coastal Conservancy’s efforts to create multi-benefit projects that use natural systems to assist communities in climate adaptation and mitigation.

California Climate Investments – Cap & Trade Dollars at Work: Cooling Our Communities is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.