Megan Ehlers, Ehlers Animal Care, Trees for Pets

Professional pet sitters, veterinarians, other animal care professionals, and all who love animal companions have a unique opportunity to honor, celebrate and remember the pets for which they care through the Arbor Day Foundation’s unique Trees for Pets program.

Launched in the winter of 2010, Trees for Pets allows animal care professionals to show just how special their clients’ pets are to them while at the same time making a difference in the world. Each Trees for Pets certificate honors a special companion by planting a tree in their honor or memory in our nation’s forests to help replace grand trees that are lost each year to fire or disease.

Megan Ehlers“Trees for Pets means so much to our clients.  We’ve received a very positive response from our clients because of our participation in Trees for Pets,” said Megan Ehlers, owner and veterinarian at Ehlers Animal Care in Lincoln, Nebraska. “We very much want to honor the passing of a loved companion. It helps create a sense of peace in a time of need. Our clients are moved by the simple act of planting a tree to honor the bond they shared with their pet, and they are touched that the acknowledgement of the love of their pet is making a lasting difference for generations to come through the planting of trees. One client’s thank you card shared that the tree planted was placed in a forest that his father used to reminisce about camping in as a child.  Moments such as these are profound for us, but most importantly to the healing process of our clients.”

Ehlers Animal Care has helped the Arbor Day Foundation plant 460 trees during the past four years through their participation in the Trees for Pets program.

Ttrees for pethey’re more than our pets. They’re our friends. They carve out a special place in our hearts and in our lives. What better way to honor them than with the gift of trees?

A meaningful and convenient way to honor the companions for which you care, Trees for Pets is easy to use. Online registration is available at

“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”

—George Eliot

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!


Mississippi 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. 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.

Biloxi, MS—a recognized Tree City USA community for 30 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 Arbor Day run is one of the city’s largest events, drawing an estimated 800 participants this year.

biloxi arbor day runThe proceeds from the run help programs that support individuals with disabilities. Following the race, participants receive trees for planting at home in honor of Arbor Day. Combining nature with a philanthropic cause is a unique way to celebrate Arbor Day.

There will also be a number of tree giveaways throughout the state. Residents in Pascagoula can stop by Scranton Nature Center to pick up a tree. Certified arborists will be on site to answer questions. Tree species include chinquapin, catalpa, mayhaw, live oak, and baldcypress, to name a few. If you’re in Gulfport you can visit Lyman Community Center for a tree.

How do you celebrate Arbor Day?  Please tell us in the comments section below.


Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati has been designated a Tree City USA community for 34 years and awarded the  Growth Award 14 times.

Cinn OHThe Chili Capital of America is home to nearly 300,000 residents, and boasts 85,000 street trees throughout the city. Situated along the Ohio River, Cincinnati has scenic cityscapes and a plethora of nature centers and miles of hiking trails to explore. When you tire of exploring, you can take shade under the city’s 10-20% tree canopy and enjoy a warm bowl of Chili.

Cincinnati is also establishing community gardens, with a newly created garden along the Ohio River that will provide sources of fresh fruit and vegetables for city dwellers. Planting an urban forest along the river will make it more inviting for people and contribute to a healthier watershed.

The city saves $4.7 million in air conditioning costs as a result of its urban forest which is valued at $3.2 million

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

Robert Horton, Bastrop, Texas, Beneficiary of the Lost Pines Forest Community Tree Recovery Campaign

photo 12In 2011, wildfires devastated the Lost Pines Forest of Bastrop, Texas. The Bastrop County Complex fire was the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. Two people were killed by the fire, which destroyed 1,673 homes, 32,000 acres of land, 96% of Bastrop State Park, and inflicted an estimated $325 million of insured property damage.

The Arbor Day Foundation, through the generous support of our members and supporters, is working with our on-the-ground partners to bring back the loblolly pine trees that made the Lost Pines Forest one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world, and to bring hope and healing to the people that call Bastrop home.

Robert Horton, a retired real estate broker, has long embraced the importance of community. When his 10 acre property was ravaged by the fire that caused enormous damage to Bastrop, Texas, Robert was devastated. “While Bastrop is just a little bitty spot on the map to others, for us who live here, it is important to us. It is home.”

Robert HortonRecovery was top-of-mind to Robert and his neighbors in Bastrop, a community closely identified with the local Lost Pines Forest that was badly burned by the fire. The Arbor Day Foundation, working with partners on the ground, help Robert and Bastrop to restore hope and begin to heal by planting trees. 5,000 trees were planted on Robert’s 10 acres. He praised the Arbor Day Foundation and its partners. “They are a resource that is so valuable that you can’t put a number on it.”

What does the Arbor Day Foundation Community Tree Recovery program mean to Robert Horton?  “It means reclaiming my property.  I moved here for the forest, and now the forest is gone.  But everyone who puts one tree back in the ground helps to bring the Lost Pines back.”

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!


Hartford, CT

Hartford has been designated a Tree City USA community for 20 years and awarded the  Growth Award  four times.

Bushnell Park CTThe “Insurance Capital of the World” and also one of the oldest cities in the United States, Hartford is brimming with rich history, like Bushnell Park: the first park in the world to be voted for and purchased by a city. Hartford is home to 125,000 residents and 568,000 trees with 26% tree canopy coverage.

The city’s urban forest removes 73 tons air pollution annually, saving $305,000. The clean air is motivation to take a stroll through any of the city’s parks or explore historic Hartford.

Additionally, the city’s urban forest removes 2,440 tons of carbon from the air every year, reducing greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. The benefits the city’s urban forest provides are so great that it has a replacement value of $590 million.

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

Danielle Gift, Urban Forester, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation


giftWhen Danielle Gift was ten years old and in the fifth grade, she received her first 10 trees from the Arbor Day Foundation.  So began her love of trees and the natural environment, a passion that intensified as Danielle grew.  While in high school, she was active in the ecology club.  At Northern Arizona University, she earned an undergraduate degree in forestry and focused on ecological restoration, inspired by a desire to make a difference in urban areas as cities increasingly encroach on forestlands. This desire to make a difference lead her to continue her studies at Virginia Tech University, where she participated in a Tree Campus USA planting, and where she earned a graduate degree in urban forestry.

Central Park Summer

Photo Credit | Flickr, Kevin Dooley

Now employed full time as a city forester in New York City, Danielle sees how her life path has been connected by her love of trees.  From her first Arbor Day Foundation trees, to Tree Campus USA, to the community forest of New York City. And Danielle Gift loves her work, characterizing it as “better than I had imagined.”  Continuing, she shared, “I feel like I’m making a difference.”

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!


Fort Wayne, IN

Fort Wayne has received Tree City USA designation for 24 years and has been awarded the Growth Award nine times.

Ft Wayne INFort Wayne is home to 250,000 residents and a diverse variety of activities including 15 museums and art galleries, a botanical conservatory, and three minor league sports franchises, not to mention the 86 public parks one can enjoy. The city’s 29% tree canopy coverage provides shade and beauty to those exploring the city.

Fort Wayne’s urban forest is comprised of more than 54,000 street trees that save the city nearly $300,000 in air filtration costs. In addition, the urban forest reduces energy expenses by $2.5 million and saves $1.7 million in stormwater management annually.

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


Honolulu, HI

Honolulu has received Tree City USA designation for 33 years and has been awarded the Growth Award twice.

honoluluWhen most people think of Honolulu they probably think of tropical climates and relaxing resorts, and while the city is a top tourist destination, there is more to Hawaii’s capital than sandy beaches. Honolulu—home to nearly one million residents–has tree canopy coverage of 20%, cooling the city from its warm temperatures.

When you need a break from water sports you might consider hiking some of the city’s old volcanoes. The Division of Urban Forestry is responsible for more than 235,800 trees, so finding a tree to take shade under shouldn’t be a problem when you need some shade. Additionally, Honolulu’s urban forest saves $47,000 in air pollution costs, so you can enjoy the view at the top without smog blocking the scene.

Furthermore, residents save more than $343,000 in energy costs as a result of the city’s urban forest. The dense tree canopy intercepts 35 million gallons of stormwater annually, saving the city more than $350,000 in stormwater management costs.

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

Florida and Louisiana Celebrate Arbor Day in January

ArborWhile the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states and municipalities have implemented state or locally recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.  Florida and Louisiana celebrate Arbor Day the third Friday in January.


naples zooNaples has been designated a Tree City USA community for 17 years and Growth Award recipient seven times. Naples Zoo celebrated Arbor Day with a day of tree-related activities for the whole family including tree climbing demonstrations in Rainforest Grove. Partners from local organizations shared information about the value of trees and the best native tree selections for planting in the region. Davey Tree was also on hand to answer all tree care questions.

Winter Haven—a designated Tree City USA community for 21 years and Growth Award recipient six times— will hold a tree give away at Central Park. The event will include tree planting and maintenance demonstrations.


lsu agcenterCovington has been designated a Tree City USA community for 21 years and Growth Award recipient four times. Partnered with Keep Covington Beautiful, the city will celebrate Arbor Day with their traditional annual tree give-away at the Covington Farmers Market on January 17th. A variety of native bare-root seedlings will be available including buttonbush, mayhaw, chickasaw plum, and baldcypress.

Baton Rouge— a designated Tree City USA community for 20 years and Growth Award recipient five times— has numerous celebrations throughout the city, including family fun at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Burden Horticulture Society are partnering up to host the Arbor Day celebration. Attendees can meet Smokey Bear and participate in a scavenger hunt in the woods, or watch lumber jack demonstrations in the arboretum. Additionally, attendees will be able to take home a tree for planting.


Montgomery AL

Montgomery has received Tree City USA designation for 20 years.

MontgomeryMontgomery — rich in cultural history and heart of the Civil Rights Movement— is located along the Alabama River and home to 200,000 residents.  This state capital offers tourists plenty of attractions, including the Hank Williams Museum, Alabama Shakespeare Theater, and Alabama War Memorial.

Visitors can explore the city and take shade under the city’s tree canopy that encompasses 34% of the city.  Montgomery’s urban forest removes 3.2 million pounds of pollutants from the air annually, equating to $7.9 million in savings. In addition, the city’s tree canopy saves $454 million in stormwater management costs.

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