New Mexico Celebrates Arbor Day in March

ArborWhile the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.

New Mexico celebrates Arbor Day the second Friday of March. Home to 12 certified Tree City USA communities, we take a look back at how a few of those cities observed the tradition.

Albuquerque—a Tree City USA community for 15 years—celebrated Arbor Day with a traditional tree planting. The city of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation partnered up with Albuquerque Public Schools, New Mexico State Urban Forestry, Kellyphoto3[1]and New Mexico Think Trees to plant trees at two local parks near schools. Students experienced hands-on participation in the tree plantings.

In addition to the city’s celebration, Tree New Mexico held a presentation at a Bernalillo County Open Space lead by certified arborists who talked about best practices in caring for trees. A local forester discussed the condition of New Mexico’s forests in light of changing climate and drought conditions. Participants received a New Mexico Olive Tree at the conclusion of the presentation.

The City of Santa Fe and Railyard Stewards—a local conservation organization that helps the city maintain its largest park—held a tree planting ceremony following the ribbon cutting and community picnic for the opening of the Los Pinos Bridge/Ashbaugh Park. Santa Fe has been designated a Tree City USA community for five years, and Growth Award recipient for two years.

In addition to the tree planting, the city gave away tree saplings and held family-friendly activities consisting of live music from a marimba band, ice cream, and pastries. The Santa Fe Disc Golf group held demonstrations and offered free classes to attendees.

c2bf20bcc12e505eb082fbf0fc83b62c[1]Roswell celebrated Arbor Day at the Spring River Park & Zoo with a tree planting and tree giveaway. A tree was planted in honor of PGA professional Saul Sanchez who was shot and killed after interrupting a burglary.

Following the tree planting city park staff gave demonstrations on proper tree pruning and climbing. Those who attended the Arbor Day celebration not only got to select two trees to take home with them but also had the opportunity to pose for pictures with Smokey Bear. Roswell, the state’s longest recognized Tree City USA has received the designation for 24 years and the Growth Award for 11.

Tennessee and North Carolina Celebrate Arbor Day in March

Arbor While the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.

Tennessee and North Carolina share more than just a border, they both celebrate Arbor Day the first Friday of March. We take a look back at how some of their Tree City USA communities have observed the tradition.

North Carolina

Charlotte—A recognized Tree City USA community for 34 years—observed Arbor Day with city officials planting two oak trees in a local park in honor of the retiring president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership.

Greensboro—A recognized Tree City USA community for 23 years and Growth Award recipient for eight years—observed Arbor Day with a tree planting commemorating the 45th anniversary of Greensboro Beautiful. arbor20day.jpgGreensboro Beautiful is a nonprofit volunteer organization with the mission to conserve and enhance the beauty and ecology of the Greensboro community through public and private cooperation.

More than 150 volunteers gathered to plant 45 trees across various parts of downtown Greensboro. Each tree was tagged to show the positive financial impact it has on the environment duing the next 15 years.

Tennessee

Nashville—A recognized Tree City USA community for 18 years—commemorated Arbor Day with a memorial tree dedication in honor of four city officials. The city also acknowledged National Electric Service for its fifth year of being designated as a Tree Line USA utility company.nashville

Knoxville—A recognized Tree City USA community for 23 years and Growth Award recipient for five years—was granted the opportunity to host the state’s official Arbor Day celebration last year because its tree board was recognized as the state’s Tree Board of the Year in 2012. The celebration included an Arbor Day skit performed by local students.

Knoxville earned the state award for its work in completing the city’s first tree inventory and management plan for public property. The city plants about 350 new trees every year in addition to the thousands it currently manages.

If you’re interested in catching a glimpse of either state’s tree canopy, you might consider hiking the Appalachian Trail, where several miles of terrain fall along the North Carolina-Tennessee Border. Visitors can take in the miles of Oaks, Maples, and Firs that adorn the region.

The Academy Awards—Trees in Film

Hollywood is only a few weeks away from celebrating one of the largest red carpet events of the year—the Academy Awards. The annual award ceremony will honor the achievements of actors, directors, and many others involved in creating motion pictures. With the faces of Hollywood being recognized for some of their best work, we deemed it appropriate to shine light on the supporting roles trees have played in film. Although trees may not have played a prominent role in any of the 2014 Oscar nominated films, they have appeared in scenes from a number of renowned movies. The following list notes five Oscar-nominated movies that made these trees memorable.

The Wizard of Oz

trees-wizardofoz-590x350[1]Nominated for six Academy Awards, the Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy, a Kansas girl who searches her way back home after her house is uprooted by a tornado. The most notable characters Dorothy encounters on her journey are a Scarecrow, Tin Man, and a Lion. In following the yellow brick road with her new-found friends, Dorothy comes across an apple tree from which she tries to pick an apple. The tree grabs the apple and slaps her hand. “How would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?” asks the apple tree.  Needless to say, Dorothy didn’t eat any apples off of that apple tree.

Gone with the Wind

This American classic— adapted from ADG GWTW 087-1[1]Margaret Mitchell’s novel—received 10 Oscars out of its 13 nominations. The film features the Wilkes’ family Twelve Oaks plantation situated in Georgia. The family’s white mansion is surrounded by twelve great oak trees in a near perfect circle. Historians say the fictional estate was inspired by the real-life Boone Hall plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. Boone Hall is one of the nation’s oldest working plantations and boasts the “Avenue of Oaks,” a mile long road lined with 350 year old Oak trees.

Hook

hookNominated for five Academy Awards, Hook is the continuation of an adult Peter Pan. The Hangman tree is an old tree with several hidden entrances that the Lost Boys used as a hideout. The name comes from its rope-like limbs that resemble nooses when hung low.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

whomping_willow_1[1]The first installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was nominated for three Oscars. The Whomping Willow tree in the film has a persona of its own. Situated on Hogwarts Grounds, it’s known for its violent behavior and attacks anyone who comes close to its branches. The tree was planted to guard the entrance of a secret tunnel. We get our initial introduction of the Whomping Willow’s temper when Harry and Ron accidentally crash their flying car into the tree, and the tree defends itself, critically damaging the car. In the Harry Potter sequel the Whomping Willow is shown destroying Harry’s broom when it falls into the tree’s branches.

Shawshank Redemption

shawshank-tree[1]Nominated for seven Oscars, this prison drama tells the story of two inmates who become friends while serving life sentences. Andy, who proclaimed his innocence since before his conviction, eventually escapes Shawshank State Prison, but before he flees he gives his new-found friend Red instructions to visit a specific hayfield in a nearby town, should Red ever be freed. 40 years later, Red is let out on parole and visits the hayfield to retrieve the package from Andy. The package is hidden in a rock wall beneath an Oak tree. The Oak tree portrayed at the end of the movie is located in Mansfield, Ohio and fans journey from all parts of the world to see it.

What movies can you think of with memorable appearances by trees?

Georgia Celebrates Arbor Day in February

ArborWhile the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Georgia is one of three states to celebrate Arbor Day in February, observing the tradition the third Friday of the month. We take a look back at how two of Georgia’s Tree City USA communities celebrated Arbor Day.

Atlanta—a Tree City USA for 27 consecutive years and five time Growth Award recipient—8701310439_80987c8ab5_z[1]observed Arbor Day with a weekend of tree plantings along the East Side Trail in Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic District of the Atlanta Beltline, a sustainable redevelopment project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails, and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad strip connecting 45 neighborhoods. City arborists lead project teams that planted 314 trees.

The trees will help to establish the Atlanta Beltline as one of the world’s longest linear arboretums. The city made it a priority to include parks and trails in the redevelopment.

The City of Macon—a Tree City USA for 28 consecutive years and 15 time Growth Award recipient— organized a tree planting in the Pleasant Hill Community Garden. Jsow4.AuSt.71[1]The community garden provides fresh vegetables to seniors and physically challenged residents, and has produced an astonishing 4,000 pounds of organic vegetables in its nine year existence, including collard greens, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes. Community organizers had been hoping to plant fruit trees in the garden for years, and as a result of last year’s tree planting, members can now partake in the bounty provided by 30 different kinds of fruit and nut-bearing trees.

The community garden, which is maintained by local area youth, helps to educate the public on the importance of nutritious eating, and the effort required to preserve such spaces.

Georgia is setting a fine example of how cities can implement environmental stewardship within their communities through proactive planning. Atlanta and Macon each found ways to bring the public together for the common good. Trees have a phenomenal way of bringing people together, and helping to build community.

Mississippi Celebrates Arbor Day in February

While the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Celebrating Arbor Day helps educate the public about the value of trees. With Mississippi observing Arbor Day the second Friday in February, we take a look at how some of its Tree City USA communities are celebrating the tradition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABiloxi, MS—a recognized Tree City USA for 29 years— observes Arbor Day with annual 5K,1 mile and-1/4 mile charity runs, jogs, walks and rolls hosted by the City of Biloxi, Disability Connection, and Gulf Coast Running Club. The proceeds from the run help programs that support individuals with disabilities. Last year’s run assisted the first Disability Connection Community Playground which opened at Gulfport’s Bruce Ladner Memorial Park. Following the race, participants received trees for planting at home in honor of Arbor Day. Combining nature with a philanthropic cause is a unique way to celebrate Arbor Day.

21088079_BG2[1]Meridian celebrated Arbor Day with a traditional tree planting in a local park. The Meridian Tree Commission donated five pecan trees to mark the occasion. The Apache Foundation provided trees for planting at home to those attending the event.

Hattiesburg observed Arbor Day with their annual Arbor Day tree planting. Each year, the city chooses a school and plants a tree on their campus. This year a tree was planted at Earl Travillion Attendance Center. The annual tradition includes an Arbor Day Proclamation delivered by the mayor, a presentation of Arbor Day Appreciation awards, and concludes with a tree planting.

arbor_day2012_contest[1]The Mississippi Urban Forest Council, in partnership with the Mississippi Forestry Commission, the USDA Forest Service, and the Southern Group of State Foresters holds an annual statewide Arbor Day poster contest encouraging students to illustrate a poster that incorporates the current year’s theme — the benefits to humans, including the social benefits, that trees provide. Winners receive statewide recognition and cash prizes.

Additionally, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science holds an Arbor Day celebration consisting of hands-on activities for kids with appearances by Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl, a live animal program, and scuba diver fish feeding.

Super Bowl Cities – Urban Forestry Match Up

The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will vie for the 2014 Super Bowl title in this year’s game. The two teams are each respectively the top in their conference.  Seattle’s strong defense against Denver’s top offense isn’t the only match up worthy of consideration. Both cities were recognized in American Forests 2013 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests. With restless anticipation looming in the air for the Feb. 2 showdown, we examine Seattle’s and Denver’s urban forests in a matchup of our own.

Denver

denver-skyline-mountains_featured-420x223[1]With a population of more than 600,000, the mile high city offers more than just scenic landscapes. Denver’s urban forest shades nearly 20% of the city with 2.2 million trees. So how do these trees benefit city dwellers? Well for starters, Denver’s park systems increased property value by $31 million. More trees also mean greater energy savings, equivalent to more than $6.7 million annually.

A survey of 600 Denver residents revealed that Denver’s parks contributed $65 million in health savings by increasing physical activity and lowering medical expenses.

In addition, Denver has been designated a Tree City USA for 27 years, and was awarded the prestigious Tree City USA Growth Award twice for its increased commitment in urban forestry.

Seattle

skyline[1]Let’s see how Seattle stacks up. Like Denver, Seattle has a population of more than 600,000. Seattle is home to more than 4 million trees with 23% tree canopy coverage. Not only is Seattle doing a superb job of maintaining its community forest, but they continually strive to improve, with a goal to reach 30% tree canopy coverage by the year 2037. Not to mention, the city’s tree canopy reduces energy usage by $6 million annually.

The overall benefit of Seattle’s trees is such that their replacement value is estimated at $5 billion. That’s a significant sum.

Seattle has also received Tree City USA designation for 28 years, and has been awarded the Tree City USA Growth Award 17 times. In addition, Seattle City Light —the city’s foremost public utility company providing electrical power to the city— has been recognized as a 2013 Tree Line USA Utility.

Any city that prides itself on its community forestry efforts is worth celebrating. We admire what Seattle and Denver are doing both on the field, and off. Which city do you think earns the title in our first annual Urban Forestry Match Up?

All Eyes soon to be on Groundhog Celebrity Punxsutawney Phil, near forest treasure Cook Forest State Park

February 2 marks Groundhog Day, a Pennsylvania tradition to predict the arrival of spring. According to folklore, if the groundhog spots his shadow after coming out of winter hibernation, then winter will go on for another six weeks. If he comes out of his hole and doesn’t spot it, then it’s a sign that spring is on the horizon. The town of Punxsutawney, PA—where Groundhog Day originated—celebrates the tradition with an annual festival, awaiting the prediction of Punxsutawney Phil, the towns’ groundhog.

hillside_parkinfo[1]Pennsylvania boasts more than just Groundhog Day; it is also home to Cook Forest State Park—one of America’s top 50 state parks according to National Geographic Traveler. More than 8,500 acres of its breathtaking terrain stretch across northwestern Pennsylvania, sheltering some of America’s finest White Pine and Eastern Hemlock timber strands. Cook Forest State Park is also the first Pennsylvania State Park to be recognized as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

Bordered by the Clarion River, Cook Forest State Park encompasses a mixture of natural landscapes including rivers, rolling hills, and mountains.

Nine old growth forest areas are situated within Cook Forest State Park. The most popular are Swamp, Seneca, Cathedral, and Cook Trails. The old growth forests are remnants of ancient trees that appeared after a drought and fire back in 1644. Cook Forest State Park has some of the oldest White Pine and Eastern Hemlock tree, dating back 370 years.dcnr_008364[1]

The Forest Cathedral Natural Area is one of the largest old growth forests of White Pine and Eastern Hemlock trees in Pennsylvania. Several of the pines exceed three feet in diameter and rise 200 feet. Trees that grand are nicknamed “William Penn Trees” because they’re more likely to be 300 or more years old, and date back to the era of William Penn, the first governor of “Penn’s Woods.” The name Pennsylvania, which translates roughly as “Penn’s Woods,” was created by combining the Penn surname (in honor of William’s father, Admiral Sir William Penn) with the Latin word sylvania, meaning “forest land.”  The Forest Cathedral has been designated for protection as a state park natural area.

Some other ancient tree species hidden in the forest include strands of Red and White Oaks, Red Maple, and Black Cherry trees.

Icreek-620x300[1]n addition to the remarkable trees Cook Forest State Park boasts, the forest garners another treasure. Nestled within the Seneca old growth forest area are the remains of a natural mineral spring that produced waters with white sulfur and iron. The spring was believed to possess healing powers and was so popular in the 1900s that a boardwalk encased by gaslights was lit 24 hours a day so visitors could bathe and drink from the spring.

Cook Forest State Park is one marvel worth visiting. If you should ever find yourself in northwestern Pennsylvania, go explore the towering trees that adorn the area and allow yourself to be mesmerized by the daunting beauty of this National Natural Landmark.

Houston Celebrates Arbor Day in January

While the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Celebrating Arbor Day helps educate the public about the value of trees. While Texas as a state celebrates Arbor Day in November, the City of Houston – the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest city in the United States – implements its own tradition and observes Arbor Day in January.

Mayor_Parker_and_Téo[1]Last year marked the 27th annual Arbor Day celebration for the City of Houston, sponsored by Apache Corporation, the Memorial Park Conservancy, and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

Thousands of volunteers gathered to plant 25,000 trees in four parks heavily affected by the 2011 drought. The project, titled Re-Plant Houston, is a multiyear effort to replace the trees lost in the parks as a result of the drought. Approximately 18,800 of those trees were planted at Memorial Park. This tree planting was unique in that it also was a celebration of Apache having helped to make possible the planting of three million trees at Memorial Park.

“Apache has been involved with the growth of Houston’s Urban Forest for many years. Their continuing support has been even more significant since the 2011 drought,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “The planting of their 3 millionth tree in Memorial Park is a symbol of their commitment and of our city’s appreciation for their support of Houston’s Urban Forest.”

Aside from Houston’s 4f1c07616bbcc.image[1]official celebration, several other organizations within the city and surrounding areas held events too. The Woodlands observed Arbor Day with a tree give-away, handing out a whopping 31,000 trees to attendees. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center celebrated Johnny Appleseed with family activities that included making recycled paper hats and a tree planting demonstration.

We applaud Houston’s dedication to reforesting its local parks and greenspaces. Last year’s event reminded us that everything truly is bigger in Texas.

Louisiana Celebrates Arbor Day in January

While the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Celebrating Arbor Day helps educate the public about the value of trees. With Arbor Day approaching, we take a look back at some of Louisiana’s Tree City USA Arbor Day observances.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer[1]Baton Rouge has made it a tradition to celebrate Arbor Day with family activities at Burden Museum and Gardens. Visitors had the opportunity to plant a tree in the Burden woods, participate in a 5k hike, or a scavenger hunt. Participants who participated in the tree planting were given a card with the tree’s name and its GPS coordinates so they could monitor the growth of the trees they planted. Other family activities included hayrack rides, bonfires, and tree climbing. In addition to planting a tree in the Burden woods, each family left with a tree seedling to plant at home. The seedlings were provided by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.3762611_orig[1]

The city of Lafayette teamed up with Lafayette Garden Club in an annual Arbor Day planting ceremony at a local green space. The Lafayette Garden Club donated the Live Oak tree in honor of recently deceased members and spouses. The ceremony also included a reading of What is a Tree by the Garden Club chair.

NIMG_0323[1]ew Orleans celebrated Arbor Day with a tree planting in Brechtel Park. Brechtel Park features trails, lagoons, shelters, and play areas. The event was hosted by the Department of Parks and Westbank Algiers Garden clubs.

This year the state of Louisiana will recognize Arbor Day by planting 260 Baldcypress and Southern Magnolia along I-49 and LA 530. The trees were donated by an Apache Corporation Tree Grant, and shrubs and grasses donated by TreesAcadiana. The trees will serve as a welcoming sign for those traveling into the state.

Florida Celebrates Arbor Day in January

While the national Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Celebrating Arbor Day helps educate the public about the value of trees. Florida and Louisiana kick off the year with state wide-celebrations on the third Friday in January. With Arbor Day approaching, we take a look back at some of Florida’s Tree City USA Arbor Day observances.

DSCN2701[1]Punta Gorda is not only a Tree City USA, but also recipient of the 2013 Arbor Day Celebration Award. Award winners are recognized for their leadership in the cause of tree planting, conservation, and environmental stewardship. The city of 17,000 led a tree planting event involving 300 Punta Gorda first graders. The students learned firsthand the vital role trees play in communities.

The city has also been recognized with the prestigious Tree City USA Growth Award for the past 10 years for its continued progress in community forestry. Punta Gorda serves as a leading model of what cities of all sizes can achieve when they make urban forestry a community priority.

703691_529601900396810_1703913630_o[1]As part of an annual tradition, Orange County, Florida celebrated Arbor Day last year with a tree planting ceremony in front of the County Administration Center. In attendance were the members of the Board of County Commissioners.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs encouraged every Orange County resident to plant a tree to benefit their community and future generations.

Last year the city of Miami planted 100 trees along residential streets. The city partnered with local organizations including The Miami Children’s Initiative, Miami Northwestern Senior High School, Citizens for a Better South Florida, Operation Green Leaves, and Tremendous Miami.

The city has a goal of increasing its tree canopy to 30% by 2020 through its Tree Master Plan, adopted by the Miami City Commission in 2007. The city implemented the “Green Miami Campaign” to encourage neighborhood groups and individuals to plant trees and preserve the city’s tree canopy.

large_4098[1]Tampa celebrated Arbor Day by planting three American Elm trees in MacFarlane Park with the help of MacFarlane Elementary School students. The city’s Tree-mendous Tampa Program was established in 1997 to enhance neighborhoods and help sustain Tampa’s urban forest and shade canopy.

Cities aren’t the only ones with a focus on tree-plantings. The Florida Forest Service is also a recipient of the 2013 Arbor Day Award. The Florida Forest Service was honored with the Forest Lands Leadership Award, in respect to its contribution to conservation and land stewardship. The Florida Forest Service plants millions of trees every year, manages complex ecosystems, and has been aggressive in combating forest fires.  Floridians are setting a great example in growing awareness of the importance of environmental conservation.