#TreeCityUSATuesday

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis has received Tree City USA designation for 35 years and has been awarded the Growth Award 19 times.

downtown MinnKnown as the City of Lakes, it’s no wonder Minneapolis would take its urban forestry just as seriously, seeing that lakes and forests go hand in hand. With a population of nearly 400,000 residents, Minneapolis is a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts. The city’s 900,000 plus trees provide shade and urban canopy coverage of 31 percent.

Minneapolis’ fresh air—its trees sequester 8,900 tons of carbon annually— is enough incentive to bike along any of the city’s scenic trails and explore the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum or Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The city’s urban forest saves more than $200,000 every year in energy costs. In fact, their urban forest is so integral to Minneapolis that it has a structural value of $756 million.

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

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee WIMilwaukee has received Tree City USA designation for 35 years and has been awarded the Growth Award six times.

Home to nearly 600,000 residents, Milwaukee offers scenic landscapes and natural beauty for those looking for a quick escape. Milwaukee’s urban and community forest covers nearly 22% of the city and features more than three million trees.

Nearly 500 tons of pollution is eliminated from the air every year as a result of the city’s urban forest. That equates to $2.6 million in savings annually. The urban forest’s shade saves the city more than $800,000 annually in energy costs.

Whether you’re sailing along Lake Michigan or wandering through Milwaukee’s parks, the city’s vibrant treescape and fresh air are both positive attributes to which all cities should aspire.

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

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Portland, OR

Portland has been designated a Tree City USA community for 37 years and Growth Award recipient 17 times.

Portland ORPortland delivers when it comes to urban forestry. Home to more trees than people—1.4 million trees and a population of 584,000—Portland is a city of distinct character.  With more than 70 miles of trails and 200 parks within city limits, nature enthusiasts have no problem finding refuge in any of the city’s green spaces.

Portland’s tree canopy coverage is at 30% and reduces energy costs by $750,000 annually. In addition, the urban and community forest has served as a stormwater management system intercepting half a billion tons of water and saving the city $11 million in stormwater processing.

The community forest removes as much as two million pounds of pollutants from the air and adds more than $13 million in property resale value.

The overall benefit of Portland’s urban and community trees is such that their structural value is estimated at $5 billion. That’s a significant sum and an excellent return on investment!

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

#TreeCityUSATuesday

New York, NY

NYCNew York City has received Tree City USA designation for 18 years and has received the Growth Award five times.

This city of dreams has a vision of its own: it wants to be America’s first sustainable city. For outsiders, the idea of a greener New York may seem ambitious for such a congested social and business hub. How will the city achieve such a goal?

Through the implementation of an exceptional yet practical effort introduced by former Mayor Bloomberg called PlaNYC.

The plan— unveiled in 2007— brought together 25 city agencies to work toward strengthening the economy, combating climate change, and enhancing the quality of life for all New Yorkers.

This city of eight million residents is currently home to five million trees. Don’t be deceived by the concrete jungle, as nearly 40 percent—11,000 acres— of New York City is parkland. The city’s trees remove 2,202 tons of pollution per year. In addition, building energy savings equate to $11.2 million per year. Under MillionTreesNYC, the city aims to plant one million trees by 2017.

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

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Washington, DC

DCWashington D.C. has been a recognized Tree City USA community for 23 years and a five-time Tree City USA Growth Award recipient.

With a population of 600,000, the District of Columbia demonstrates its dedication to strengthening its urban forestry program as much as it does to policy making. Boasting a tree canopy coverage at 35 percent, locals are able to find shade under any of the city’s 1.9 million trees with ease.

If you’re looking to visit the nation’s capital city you might want to plan your trip in the spring to coincide with the National Cherry Blossom Festival—one of the nation’s greatest springtime celebrations.

When you’re not enjoying the fresh scent of Japanese Cherry Blossoms you might take notice of the clean air; D.C.’s treescape removes 540 tons of pollution every year. In addition to attracting thousands of tourists, the urban canopy saves $2.6 million in energy usage annually and has a structural value of $3.6 billion.

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

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Austin, TX

austin txAustin has received Tree City USA designation for 22 years and has been awarded the Growth Award twice.

Austin is celebrated for its foodies, historians, and tech geeks. With nearly 15,000 trees spread across the city, Austinites have plenty of options to enjoy shade under the city’s 30 percent tree canopy.

The cuisine scene isn’t the only diverse attraction in the city, as Austin’s urban and community forest is comprised of nearly 200 different tree species including popular choices such as crape myrtles, southern live oaks, and cedar elms. Diverse treescapes make picnicking more enjoyable in any of the local parks that account for 18 percent of the city. With regular sunshine and natural attractions, Austin makes it easy to fall in love with the great outdoors.

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

#TreeCityUSATuesday

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte has been designated a Tree City USA community for 34 years.

Charlotte NCA major US financial center, Charlotte is proving that its riches extend beyond currency.  Charlotte— with a population nearing 800,000— is home to 85,000 publicly managed trees and an astonishing 46 percent tree canopy coverage. Charlotte’s extensive urban and community forest provides the city with nearly $1 million in annual energy savings.

And the benefits don’t stop there, as Charlotte’s trees help save as much as $2 million every year in stormwater management. In addition, the city’s community forest has increased property value by $2.7 million.

Charlotte is establishing itself as a leader in both the financial services industry and in urban and community forestry. If you’re a fan of green public space, you might very well enjoy all that Charlotte has to offer.

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

The Importance of Urban and Community Forests During Summer Storm Season

Natural disasters have a tendency to be intrusive in the least of welcome places. A city can never be fully equipped to combat the consequences of such devastation. As the anniversary of the destructive floods that overtook parts of Colorado approaches, we reflect on what communities can do to reduce the economic and environmental scars left behind from such disasters.

Tree Line StA dense tree canopy can help reduce flooding during times of heavy rain. The Tree City USA program serves as a practical guideline for cities desiring to maintain a healthy community and urban forest.

Trees serve as sponges during rainfall, soaking up rainwater. So when there are fewer trees there is more stormwater runoff. When shrubs and trees are planted along waterways they slow down flood waters, filter runoff from land, and reduce erosion in erosion-prone rivers. Check out our Trees Tame Stormwater interactive poster for a visual of how much a robust tree canopy helps a city during a storm.

Without trees, the rivers would eat away at adjoining property and fill reservoirs with silt. In addition, untreated sewage can flow into waterways, contaminating water supply and destroying natural habitat. Adding heavy rain into the mix only creates more stress and water overflow for the city.

Flat surfaces also contribute to flooding, especially in areas where trees are absent. Street puddleWhen heavy rain falls and storm drains reach capacity, rainwater has nowhere to go so it sits along streets and sidewalks accumulating in volume and damaging property.

If your community has a strong community and urban forestry program in practice than it is one step closer to mitigating stormwater runoff. To qualify as a Tree City USA community, a town or city must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. The Tree City USA program is a key component of a healthy urban and community forestry program.

Is your community a Tree City USA recognized community?

Urban Forestry Plan is Key to Weathering the Storm

Let’s face it: no one likes to think about natural disasters, with their potential for devastation of our homes, neighborhoods, communities, and livelihoods. We’ve shared on this blog before about some of the communities hit hardest in recent years by natural disasters, and told the inspiring stories of citizens returning hope and healing to the places they call home.

Even still, there’s simply no way around it. Natural disasters are a fact of life.

When a natural disaster strikes a community, trees are invariably involved and many

Photo credit: Urban Forest Strike Team.

Photo credit: Urban Forest Strike Team.

times on the losing end of the event. Using the framework of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program, sound urban forestry management has proven essential to loss prevention and recovery of our treasured trees.

The scientific consensus is that climate change is occurring and that, in many cases, it is making natural disasters worse. Any planning to mitigate disasters should also include planning to reduce human-caused acceleration or magnification of climate change.

According to a survey by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nearly three-quarters of U.S. cities are now seeing environmental shifts that can be linked to climate change. More than 1,000 city leaders have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to strive to meet or exceed Kyoto Protocol targets in their communities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A healthy canopy of trees plays an important role in this effort. Trees need to be considered a vital part of every city’s infrastructure – right alongside the bridges, roads, sewers, electrical, and telecommunication grids – and appreciated for the natural workhorses that they are. For proof, one need not look further than the great role trees play in taming stormwater runoff during and immediately following natural disasters.

Sound urban forestry management through the framework of the Tree City USA program has been proven to be essential time and again. In fact, green infrastructure is the only part of a city’s infrastructure that actually increases in value and service over time.

Whether for preventative measures or recovery efforts, here are four key ideas your community needs for the best possible outcomes:

  • Communities with an established budget for tree care are in a better position than those that must compete for grants or appropriations. If your community is a recognized TreeCity USA, your community allocates the standard minimum of $2 per capita in a community forestry program.
  • Be prepared with an emergency management plan – and even better if it specifically includes a storm contingency plan. Unfortunately, it’s likely not a matter of IF you’ll need it, but rather WHEN you will.
  • Take time to “get it right” after a disaster. As in most things, it’s far better to move slowly with deliberate, well thought-out decisions and wise judgment than to rush into hasty action. This is particularly important when considering where reconstruction efforts will take place across a community and where trees should be replaced.
  • Lean on the expertise of your local tree board and their extensive list of contacts. These people will be an invaluable resource when it comes time to actually do the work of replanting trees.

For more information on best practices and ways your community can recover from natural disasters, see Tree City USA Bulletin #68.

Donate Now: Plant trees where they’re needed most.

 

Treating Trees: Good Advice from a Girl Scout

Here at the Arbor Day Foundation, we have members, advocates, and supporters from all walks of life, representing all corners of the globe, and encompassing all ages.

In part, that’s because the good work of planting and caring for trees spans all boundaries – physical, geographical, socio-economic, and many others.

And we love hearing from these advocates. They’re caring, passionate people who lead interesting lives and who have wonderful stories to tell.

This week, our Member Services team received an email from a young lady in Newark, New Jersey, named Victoria Ribeiro.

Girl ScoutsVictoria is a high school-aged girl scout who is working on earning a Gold Award, the highest award given by the Girl Scouts of America. All Gold Award projects must begin with identifying an issue about which the scout is passionate and end with educating and inspiring others on the topic.

Clearly, Victoria is passionate about trees, and we can honestly say we were inspired by her work. Her Gold Award project, an educational PowerPoint presentation entitled Treating Trees, “…seeks to educate the residents of the city of Newark so that they will be able to identify hazardous trees.”

A scene from a Newark, New Jersey, neighborhood following Hurricane Sandy. Ribeiro's presentation seeks to inform people of what to do with hazardous trees in their neighborhoods.

A scene from a Newark, New Jersey, neighborhood following Hurricane Sandy. Ribeiro’s presentation seeks to inform people of what to do with hazardous trees in their neighborhoods.

Victoria’s email continued: “I must make my project have a global/national impact. I looked at your website and saw that [the Arbor Day Foundation] didn’t really have any program that the residents of a city could help identify trees and make his/her community a better place to live. I am emailing you in the hopes that you may possibly create a program similar to mine to make other neighborhoods a safer and better place to live.”

Victoria, we commend you on your excellent presentation and how you’re helping to educate your fellow citizens on trees and tree care. We’re proud to share your work with others who can learn from it for greener, healthier neighborhoods — in Newark and beyond.

Thank you for sharing your passion for trees, and we wish you much succes on your way to earning the Gold Award.

Download your own copy of Victoria’s Treating Trees presentation.

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