Emi Lutz, Bellevue, Washington

Emi LutzHigh School senior Emi Lutz of Bellevue, Washington — a Tree City USA community — compiled a guide to the plants of Lewis Creek Park with great enthusiasm. The guide was Emi’s senior project and part of Bellevue’s Well Kept Program, offered by the city’s Parks and Community Services DepartmentNatural Resources Division.

The 85-page, full-color guide highlights plants ranging from the Douglasfir to the slough sedge. More importantly, the experience stimulated Emi’s conservation ethic and led her to the University of Washington where she is studying for a career as a biologist.

Emi Lutz Bk“Through working in the Well Kept Program and leading nature walks with residents, I realized that I enjoyed sharing my interest and knowledge of the outdoors and trees with others,” said Emi.

The Well Kept Program offers summer park employment that teaches life skills, provides environmental education, and instills young people with self-esteem and good work habits. This opportunity and support from the Bellevue’s Parks and Community Services Department provided Emi with the training and experience that helped forge her current academic and eventual career path.

Emi Lutz Group“It was fun to teach both kids and adults and watch them learn and start caring for the environment,” she adds.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

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#TreeCityUSATuesday

Wilmington, DE

Wilmington has been designated a Tree City USA community for 22 years and awarded the  Growth Award four times.

Wilmington DEHome to 70,000 residents, Wilmington is a warm community situated at the confluence of the Christina River and Brandywine Creek. Despite its modest size, Wilmington places importance on its urban forestry program, with more than 136,000 trees throughout the city and 16% tree canopy coverage.

Wilmington has a fair ethnic population, contributing to its cultural diversity. You can attend a number of cultural festivals in the summer including Italian, Greek, Polish, or African and enjoy traditional music, food, and activities.  While roaming downtown you’ll appreciate that Wilmington’s urban forest removes 45 tons of air pollutants a year, saving the city $291,000 in air filtration costs. In addition, the city’s trees reduce energy costs by $183,000 annually.

Wilmington’s urban forest has a structural value of $166 million.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

RonDell Pooler, Washington, District of Columbia

Rondell PoolerRonDell Pooler, a resident of the Tree City USA recognized community of Washington, D.C., leveraged a valuable training opportunity when he registered with DC Green Corps, a green jobs program that provides career training and guidance for underemployed Washington residents. DC Green Corps training focuses on new tree planting and maintenance, park management, and volunteer supervision.

As part of the program, RonDell participated in a 12-week training course supported by the District of Columbia Department of Transportation’s Urban Forest Administration and the U.S. Forest Service.

DC CorpsNow a proud graduate of DC Green Corps, RonDell works for a nonprofit organization leading volunteer projects, monitoring trees and park conditions, and supervising trainees.

“Forestry programs have had a great impact, not only by giving me a job but real skills,” said RonDell. “It has also helped me become more conscious of the community and my neighborhood.”

The generous support from the D.C. Urban Forest Administration and the U.S. Forest Service helped to make this successful program possible, and provided the valuable opportunity to encourage local community forestry leaders like RonDell Pooler to engage in the active stewardship of Washington’s trees now and into the future.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

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#TreeCityUSATuesday

Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Beach has been designated a Tree City USA community for 35 years and awarded the  Growth Award twice.

VA Beach VAHome to more than 400,000 residents, Virginia Beach is a resort city attracting tourists to its miles of beaches and outdoor activities. If you’re ever visiting you may spend your evenings watching outdoor entertainment or enjoying any of the numerous art museums. The city is taking initiative in its urban forestry, with more than three million trees scattered throughout, comprising a 36% tree canopy coverage. The city continues to improve its greenery; it has set a goal to reach 45% canopy coverage during the next 20 years.

In addition, Virginia Beach’s urban forest removes nearly 900 tons in air pollution saving the city $4.5 million in air filtration costs. Rainy days aren’t a problem, as the city’s trees save more than $1.5 million in stormwater management. The city’s urban forest has increased property value by $109.5 million annually.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

Spring into action! Are you ready for the spring planting season?

Spring is nearly here and we couldn’t be more excited. Soon we will be enjoying the beautiful colors and fragrances of spring trees and shrubs – like the dogwood, Japanese flowering cherry and of course the lilacs.

Japanese Cherry Bloss

Japanese flowering cherry

Now is the perfect time begin your spring planting planning and ordering! The Arbor Day Foundation Online Tree Nursery has a large array of affordable trees and shrubs. You will find fast-growing trees, flowering trees, fruit trees and every tree in between. And we will send your trees to you during the optimal time to plant in your zone, ensuring their health and longevity.

Or maybe you need some landscape design inspiration? Arborday.org has free, professionally designed landscape plans that focus on trees and shrubs, available to download for free. For example, we have a plan called flowering green giant, this a design plan combining a beautifully contrasting trio of trees—the rich green of a green giant arborvitae, the sprightly, springtime yellow of forsythia, and the dazzling profusion of white blooms that grace the yoshino cherry tree. Other designs include the a bird-attracting tree/shrub combination (Bird Magnet Hedgerow), a blooming shrub plan set beneath an existing shade tree (Shrubs Under a Shade Tree) , a flowering tree/hedge plan planted along an existing wood line (Flowering Woods Edge) – just to name a few.

Bird Magnet Design

Bird Magnet Hedgerow Design

If you already have your trees and are ready to plant consider reading our 9 Tree Care Tips & Techniques, an easy-to-follow guide that takes you step by step from selecting and planting the right tree, to the care and upkeep of a mature tree. Remember, what you do to your tree in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its life span. Planting done with care and some knowledge of trees and their needs will help your trees grow more rapidly and live at least twice as long as improperly planted trees.

Finally, before you get that hole dug and your new tree planted, make sure you’ve got “Right Tree in the Right Place.” Planting an appropriate tree in an appropriate location is vital for the health and longevity of the tree as well as your satisfaction with it—for example, a tree too close to the house could be a hazard, and a tree with “too-tall” potential will be unlikely to remain if it interferes with a power line overhead.

Right Tree Right Place

Are you gearing up for spring planting season? What do you plan to plant this year? Please let us know in the comments.

Linda Jark, Chapman, Kansas, Tree Board Chair

On the night of June 11, 2008, a deadly tornado struck Chapman, Kansas, leaving behind a trail of devastation. Much of the tree canopy in the heart of this farming community was destroyed.

KS plantingTo exacerbate the difficult situation, Chapman had no organized community forestry program. That’s when the Kansas Forest Service got involved. A community forester at Kansas State University took initiative, promptly contacted Chapman city officials, and generously offered technical assistance to help the community address the storm’s aftermath.

During the next several years, the Kansas Forest Service helped start a tree board and guided an inventory of the community’s trees. Information from the inventory helped leverage Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance to remove irreparably damaged and destroyed trees and to guide a new tree planting strategy.

Linda JarkLinda Jark was eventually appointed chair of the new tree board. She is quick to praise the assistance that Chapman received after the tornado. For her, this made all the difference.

“Thanks to the Kansas Forest Service, we got the right information and recommendations,” said Linda. Chapman’s community forestry program is now thriving and continues to grow.  In addition, Chapman is now a proud Tree City USA recognized community.

“Now it’s starting to show,” said Linda. “We have growth. The community forestry program is in the public eye.”

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Providence, RI

Providence has been designated a Tree City USA community for 28 years and awarded the  Growth Award twice.

Providence, RIHome to more 180,000 people, Providence is one of the oldest cities in the United States, offering a bit of historic charm mixed with modern culture. The city is branding itself as a creative hub with a thriving arts community, diverse architecture, and notable universities, including the Rhode Island School of Design.

Providence is also setting an example in its urban forestry. The city has 415,000 trees with 24% tree canopy coverage. Additionally, the urban forest removes 91 tons of air pollutants every year, saving $3.5 million in air filtration costs.

The urban forest also comes in hand during times of rainfall, intercepting 31.5 million gallons of stormwater runoff, saving $281,000 in stormwater management costs. Additionally, the city boasts $591,000 in annual energy savings.

Providence’s urban forest is an asset valued at $582 million.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

Jo An Street, Portland, Maine, Parent

Jo AnJo An Street is the mother of an elementary student at Reiche School near downtown Portland, Maine, a recognized Tree City USA community for nearly four decades, so she understands the importance of exposing city-raised children to trees and green space. She was pleased when a collaborative effort was initiated between Portland’s Forestry Department, local businesses and educational groups to create apple orchards on school grounds.

“This is the only green space many of these children may have access to,” says Jo An. With support from the Maine Forest Service‘s ‘Project Canopy,’ four apple orchards were established at Portland schools during the first three years, and the project continues to grow. Jo An kids

The trees in the school orchard are connecting children with nature. The orchards are planted and cared for by students and staff during the school year and by community and parent groups during the summer. In addition to providing outdoor play space, the orchards also serve an educational purpose.

“This has become a community effort and trees are an important way to bring science education to these kids,” Jo An adds. She has already noticed the difference the trees have made to her own children.

Joan Tree

Were it not for grant dollars, professional advice and volunteer assistance from state and local forestry officials, children in Portland would not have these educational and invigorating orchards in which to learn and play.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque has been designated a Tree City USA community for 16 years and awarded the  Growth Award twice.

Albuquerque NMHome to 550,000 residents, Albuquerque is a city fused with western flare and modern culture.  Despite its arid desert climate, Albuquerque manages to stay green, encompassing more than 1.5 million trees with 13% tree canopy coverage. The city also fosters a healthy lifestyle; a 2007 March issue of Men’s Fitness listed Albuquerque as the fittest city in the United States. Residents are certainly making the most of the city’s 361 parks.

In addition to healthy people, Albuquerque also produces healthy air, removing 366 tons of air pollutants annually, saving $1.1 million in air filtration costs. Contrary to desert stereotypes, the city receives rainfall; in fact the urban forest intercepts 11.1 million gallons of stormwater runoff annually, saving $3.42 million in stormwater management costs. On top of that, the city saves as much as $3.76 million in energy costs.

Albuquerque’s urban forest is an asset valued at $1.93 billion.

Is your city worthy of Arbor Day Foundation #TreeCityUSATuesday recognition?  If so, please tell us about it!

Allison Fisher, Neptune Township, New Jersey, and Bill Comery, Paramus, New Jersey, Beneficiaries of the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Tree Recovery campaigns have become an important resource to people affected by natural disasters. Since 2006, the Arbor Day Foundation has given nearly 1.6 million trees to people in communities recovering from natural disasters.

The size, scope and scale of Superstorm Sandy that pounded the eastern seaboard in October, 2012 was unprecedented.

Hurricane-force winds, storm-surge flooding, and salt water damage had a lethal effect on trees in many states, especially the “Garden State” of New Jersey, which lost millions of trees.

Allison Fisher

Credit: NJTV

The people of New Jersey love their trees. Allison Fisher from Neptune Township remarked, “You know you’re so used to seeing something and then it’s not there. It’s like a missing puzzle piece.”

To accelerate the urgent replanting needed, and to begin bringing hope and healing to the people and communities in need, the Arbor Day Foundation and New Jersey Division of State Forestry Services launched the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign. This year, some 100,000 trees were given to residents at 97 events in 18 counties.

Nj Tree Recovery 6Bill Comery, long-time Paramus resident and that city’s former director of parks and forestry, has seen first-hand the hope and healing brought forth by the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign.  Said Comery, “More and more communities are engaged. We are on the road to recovering our precious tree canopy, one tree at a time.”  Comery personally witnessed the devastation that hit close to home – literally. “I woke up the morning after the storm and was very disheartened to see my prized scarlet oak damaged beyond repair,” he said. Comery’s scarlet oak was documented as the largest in the entire state of New Jersey. Comery continued, “The tree had provided canopy coverage to my entire home. After its loss, I noticed that I had to run the air conditioner a lot more, and completely alter my landscaping from full shade to full sun.”

Comery is replanting, having planted several trees including some of his favorite species of oak and beech. He concluded, “We need trees for all of the benefits that they provide.  It’s very much a quality of life issue. Trees greatly improve the quality of life in a community. And now, more than ever, with the help of the Arbor Day Foundation and its Community Tree Recovery Campaign, we in New Jersey are taking care to plant the right tree in the right place and restoring our vibrant tree canopy.”

2014-03-29 10.08.45To foster diversity, 29 species were distributed as part of the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign: Oaks and pines. Spruces and firs. Basswood, beach plum, and bay berry. Black gum and black walnut. Bald cypress and sycamore. The list is long, the trees are beautiful, and their impact will last for generations. The plantings, which will continue, are a heroic response to a natural catastrophe—companies, municipalities, and volunteers taking action to bring green abundance back to their communities.

In the future, “super-storms” such as Sandy are likely to be more frequent as climate change continues unabated. It has been said regarding climate change that we need to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable. The members and supporters of the Arbor Day Foundation share a simple, noble, and invaluable part of the solution: planting trees.

Do you have an Arbor Day Foundation story that you’d like to share?  Please tell us all about it in the comments section below.  We’d love to hear it!