#TreeCityUSATuesday

Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids has been a designated Tree City USA community for 17 years and Growth Award recipient twice.

Grand Rapids MIHome to nearly 200,000 people and five of the world’s leading furniture-manufacturing centers, Grand Rapids is also a major lumber and forest products center. Grand Rapids understands the importance of sustainable forestry to its economy, and values its urban forest, boasting 1.3 million trees equating to tree canopy coverage of 34%.

In addition to its industrial culture, the city offers tourist attractions such as the Van Andel Museum Center— one of the oldest history museums in the United States— and Blandford Nature Center. You can feel comfortable exploring Grand Rapids knowing that the city’s tree canopy produces an estimated 13,700 tons of oxygen per year. Additionally, it removes 236 tons of pollution saving $5.34 million a year in air filtration costs. The urban forest also lowers energy costs by $650,000 a year as a result of the shade produced by the trees.

Grand Rapid’s urban forest has a structural value of $791 million.

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

Howard Neukrug, Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Philadelphia Water

howard_neukrugPhiladelphia, a Tree City USA community for nearly four decades, is where Howard Neukrug presides at Philadelphia Water. Howard Neukrug is a leader in recognizing the importance of trees to a healthy watershed and to clean drinking water in our cities. Howard serves as the commissioner and chief executive officer of Philadelphia Water — where he’s long enjoyed collaboration with an incredibly strong team — on the U.S. EPA National Drinking Water Advisory Council, and as Vice Chairman of the U.S. Water Alliance.

In 2002, as watershed program director for Philadelphia Water, Howard, with partnership support and contributions from the U.S. Forest Service, completed an urban ecosystem analysis for the Philadelphia metropolitan area which illustrated that the loss of tree canopy cover has a detrimental impact on water quality.

His initiative led to the funding and maintenance of natural areas, and with the leadership of then Mayor and later Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, TreeVitalize was established in 2004, through which tens of thousands of trees were strategically planted.

Venice Island Pump house_ Paul FugazzottoNeukrug, with the vital support of city agencies, and public and private partners, helped to create Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW), a comprehensive, community enhancing green stormwater management plan that boosts the sustainability and greening goals of Philadelphia’s overarching Greenworks Plan. GCCW’s Green Streets component uses trees to supplement the work of traditional storm drains to manage street runoff, resulting in newly tree lined streets. GCCW trees are multi-taskers as they manage stormwater, enhance air quality, improve property values and beautify Philadelphia neighborhoods

“GCCW is the single largest green stormwater infrastructure program in the nation,” Neukrug noted. “But the realization of the program – and its daily implementation – is achieved through the passion and dedication of Philadelphia Water’s own Office of Watersheds, and the strong partnership and leadership provided by our sister agencies – Philadelphia’s Parks & Recreation and Office of Sustainability.  It is a pleasure and honor to have such steadfast support.”

Phil Rodbell, Urban Forestry Program Specialist at the U.S. Forest Service, said, “Howard’s work on the ground and in the halls of government on behalf of trees, watersheds, and green infrastructure has shined a new light on Philadelphia as a livable and lovable city, once again.”

Porous Asphalt Parking Lot with Green Gutter and Vegetated Basin at Salvation Army_Louis_Cook_for_PWDAs Howard says, “Trees are not going to solve our problem, but they are part of our toolbox. People tend to like trees more than sewers, if you give them a choice.”

For leading the way in planting and protecting the urban and community forest and ensuring clean, safe drinking water, Howard Neukrug is the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Urban Forestry Leadership Award. This year’s Arbor Day Award ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25.

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

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore has been designated a Tree City USA community for 31 years and awarded the  Growth Award 14 times.

Baltimore MDBaltimore is home to more than 600,000 residents, and adorned with more than 2.8 million trees throughout the city.  Harboring the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic, Baltimore also boasts a vibrant cultural arts scene.

In addition to the arts, the city offers an array of outdoor activities including the Cylburn Arboretum, so you can brush up on your tree knowledge as you discover this city park. The arboretum isn’t the only place Baltimore houses trees; the city has a current canopy of 27% with a goal to reach 40% tree canopy coverage.

Baltimore’s urban canopy saves the city $3.3 million in energy costs and removes 700 tons of air pollution annually, totaling $3.8 million in air filtration cost savings. The benefits provided by the urban forest are so great that it has a replacement value of $3.4 billion.

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

Jerry Brown, Governor, State of California

Sacramento, a Tree City USA community, is known as the “Tree Capital of the World.” It’s also where Governor Jerry Brown presides as the leader of California state government.

DT Sacramento CAGovernor Brown has played a key role in establishing community forestry in California.  During his first term, The Urban Forestry Act of 1978 created an urban forestry program through state law, allowing California’s Depart of Forestry and Fire Protection – also known as Cal Fire –  to “implement a program in urban forestry to encourage better tree management and planting in urban areas.”

Since again becoming Governor in 2011, Brown has continued his legacy leading to historic funding levels for California’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

In 2012, Assembly Bill 1492 provided the first and only sustainable revenue source in support of urban forestry — up to 30 million dollars annually.

In 2013, Brown put his stamp on a Three-Year Investment Plan that highlights urban forestry as an investment area for greenhouse gas reductions, improved public health, and environmental justice.

Gov Jerry Brown

California Governor Jerry Brown with his father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, Governor of California from 1959 to 1967, at Echo Summit/Desolation Wilderness

Always steadfast to his commitment to support urban forestry, Brown signed a state budget on June 20, 2014 containing 17.8 million dollars for Cal Fire’s Urban and Community Forestry Program – the largest one-year, single-state allocation for urban forestry in the entire history of the United States.

Governor Brown continues to highlight the value of community forests, noting, “Trees provide shelter for us and birds and wildlife. They give us shade and conserve our soil. We harvest fruit from trees and at the same time enjoy their beauty. We plant trees not only for the benefit of this generation but as our gift to posterity.”

As Jerry Brown enters his fourth and final term as Governor of California, the future of urban forestry is bright.  Through Governor Brown’s actions, California has a successful Urban and Community Forestry Program, a tax to support it, and a revenue source to support greenhouse gas reduction projects and benefit disadvantaged communities.  Governor Jerry Brown is indeed a true Champion of Trees.

California Governor Jerry Brown is the recipient of the 2015 Champion of Trees Public Service Award. This year’s Arbor Day Award ceremony will be held at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, located at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25.

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

Charleston, SC

Charleston has been designated a Tree City USA community for 34 years and awarded the  Growth Award once.

Charleston SCWith a population nearing 130,000 people, Charleston’s southern charm and rich history attract thousands of visitors every year. In 2011 Travel + Leisure named Charleston “America’s Most Friendly” city, and in 2013 & 2014, Conde Nast Traveler ranked Charleston the #1 city in the US. This Southern city offers numerous outdoor sports, and great cuisine options. In addition to its tourist attractions, Charleston also places emphasis on its urban forestry with more than 15,244 public trees inventoried and maintained by the city, in addition to 35,000 trees located in parks and open spaces.

Angel Oak Tree

Angel Oak Tree, Flickr Jameel Winter

In addition to the city’s American history, Charleston also holds some of the country’s richest tree history, including the Angel Oak tree— estimated to be more than 1,400 years old— as well as Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.

So just how do these trees benefit the city? Charleston’s urban forest saves $171,406 in stormwater management costs and accumulates energy savings of $120,991. Additionally, the urban forest removes 6,104 pounds of pollutants from the air annually.

Charleston’s urban forest provides benefits to the city valued at $717,034.

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

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.