Planting Trees to Attract Birds

While birds are a joy to watch and listen to all year American-Mountainash_3-872long, it is particularly during the long winter months when their bright and cheerful presence is even more appreciated. Following an especially cold and dreary winter, the coming of spring brings thoughts of planting trees and shrubs to attract these delightful feathered friends. While they certainly enrich our lives with their presence when they grace our yards and gardens, we, too, can do much for them by providing necessary food sources and habitat.

By planting certain species of trees and shrubs, you can provide year-long natural food sources for these creatures, particularly during times of year when food is scarce. Selecting several trees or shrubs that have berries during different times of the year are great choices—and most also provide beauty in the form of spring blossoms or vibrant fall foliage. Blackhaw-Viburnum_1Great choices include Dogwood, Serviceberry, Mulberry, Viburnum, Sargent Crabapple, American Mountainash, Black Tupelo, Juniper and Winterberry Holly.

The cover trees and shrubs provide is also vital for attracting birds, as they need areas of shelter and protection for breeding, nesting, sleeping, traveling, and hiding from enemies. Many trees and shrubs can be both sources of cover and food; some good choices include Canadian Hemlock, Fir, Spruce, Eastern Redcedar, Birch, and Oak.

The Arbor Day Foundation and arborday.org are great sources of information.  White-Fir_1-839Our Tree City USA Bulletin #13: Trees for Wildlife and Conservation Trees: How to Attract Songbirds and Wildlife are excellent resources.

And please remember to provide a water source. Birds, like all wildlife, need water, and by installing a bird bath or other water feature, you will attract even more birds and provide a better habitat for them. Be sure to change the water frequently and keep it free of ice in the winter.

Ready to attract birds to your yard and garden but don’t know where to start?

Among the several free landscape designs available for download is the “Hedgerow Bird Shelter” also known as the “Bird Magnet.” Bird-MagnetBird-LayoutDesigned by registered landscape architect and president of Kersey/Wike Associates, Joel T. Parker, this landscape plan is attractive to birds by way of food and shelter as well as providing visual interest for all seasons. It includes the use of Washington Hawthorne, American Cranberrybush Viburnum, Arrowwood Viburnum and Winterberry Holly. A useful addition to any bird-lover’s property, this landscape plan is a source of beauty and enjoyment. Read more about the details of this design plan on the original arborday.org blog post.

Prairifire-Flowering-Crabapple_1-820The arborday.org tree nursery also offers a Trees for Birds Collection, a bird-friendly tree package containing one of each of the following: Purpleleaf Sand Cherry, Prairiefire Crab, American Mountainash, Canadian Hemlock and Norway Spruce.

What trees attract birds to your yard? Do you have any specific types of birds that seem to love your trees and shrubs? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

California Celebrates Arbor Week in March

arbor-logo-lg[1]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.

California doesn’t only celebrate Arbor Day; the state has a whole week dedicated to educating Californians on the value trees provide to healthy cities. In 2011 the California State Assembly and Senate approved Resolution ACR 10, a measure that recognized how vital trees are to the state, and declaring the establishment of Arbor Week. Arbor Week—celebrated March 7 to March 14—encourages residents to observe the week with tree planting activities and programs.

One of the various benefits of the state celebrating Arbor Week is that it allows like-minded organizations the opportunity to work together and organize events on a larger scale.  California is home to 143 certified Tree City USA communities, 10 Tree Line USA Utilities, and four Tree Campus USA’s. We wish we could recognize each celebration. Below are highlights of a few of the Arbor Day events that took place last year.kids

Sacramento, designated a Tree City USA for 37 years and Growth Award recipient 10 years, was listed as one of the 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests.  The city launched a 30K Tree campaign in 2012—an effort to plant 30,000 trees in one year throughout the Sacramento region. During a 20-year period, 30,000 trees could collect 8.5 million tons of carbon, capture 11 million gallons of storm water, and remove 110,000 pounds of pollutants from the air.

To kick off Arbor Week and celebrate the completion of the 30K campaign, the Sacramento Tree Foundation and Joint Venture joined the mayor in a ceremonial tree planting at Pacific Elementary School. Later in the week locals were invited to McKinley Park for a community picnic. The celebration included tree tours, a chance to make ‘I Love Trees’ buttons, bead bracelet making, and music.

Ssan jose cali releafan Jose—a Tree City USA for 31 years—worked with local non-profit California ReLeaf to plant trees in schools and neighborhoods across the city. Additionally, seniors and disabled residents were given trees to plant in their yards and park strips and had help planting them from Our City Forest—a local non-profit involved in engaging the community in the maintenance of the urban ecosystem.

Cupertino held a combined Earth Day/Arbor Day festival that included 100 partners comprised of nonprofit organizations and businesses. Booths offered tips, demonstrations, and activities centered on creating a sustainable lifestyle. It was estimated that 5,000 to 7,500 community members attended the event.

Can you imagine your city without trees? Neither can we! How are you involved in maintaining your community’s tree canopy?

The Academy Awards—Trees in Film Part II

This weekend Hollywood will honor the achievements of actors, directors, and many others involved in creating motion pictures. Last week we posted The Academy Awards—Trees in Film and asked what other movies you could think of with memorable trees. We have our follow-up list inspired from your comments just in time for the awards.

To Kill a Mockingbird

mockThe emotional drama won three Oscars out of its eight nominations. Based on the 1961 novel by Harper Lee, the film tells the story of a lawyer living in an Alabama town in the 1930s who agrees to defend a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Depicted in the film is an Oak tree that two of the story’s characters, Jem and Scout, continually visit to find hidden treasures.

It’s a Wonderful Life

115862545.jpgNominated for six Oscars, this 1946 comedy-drama invites viewers on a journey with George Bailey, a distraught man on the verge of suicide who’s dedicated his whole life to Bedford Falls, his home.  Just as he’s ready to take his life an angel appears, ready to help George through his trialing time. A key scene in the movie shows George crashing his car into a tree during a snow storm.

Forest Gump

b5cc94eef5585b072cf53469[1]Having taken home six Oscars, Forrest Gump tells the story of a mentally challenged man’s journey through life. As fate would have it, Forrest is a part of important historical events and meets public figures, however that doesn’t faze Forrest because the only thing on his mind is his childhood sweetheart, Jenny Curran. Viewers grow up with Forrest as the film progresses, but one thing that stays constant in his life is the tree to which Forrest and Jenny continually return. The Southern Oak tree in the film is located in South Carolina and has served as a tourist attraction for fans.

 

 

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.