Jo An Street, Portland, Maine, Parent

Jo AnJo An Street is the mother of an elementary student at Reiche School near downtown Portland, Maine, a recognized Tree City USA community for nearly four decades, so she understands the importance of exposing city-raised children to trees and green space. She was pleased when a collaborative effort was initiated between Portland’s Forestry Department, local businesses and educational groups to create apple orchards on school grounds.

“This is the only green space many of these children may have access to,” says Jo An. With support from the Maine Forest Service‘s ‘Project Canopy,’ four apple orchards were established at Portland schools during the first three years, and the project continues to grow. Jo An kids

The trees in the school orchard are connecting children with nature. The orchards are planted and cared for by students and staff during the school year and by community and parent groups during the summer. In addition to providing outdoor play space, the orchards also serve an educational purpose.

“This has become a community effort and trees are an important way to bring science education to these kids,” Jo An adds. She has already noticed the difference the trees have made to her own children.

Joan Tree

Were it not for grant dollars, professional advice and volunteer assistance from state and local forestry officials, children in Portland would not have these educational and invigorating orchards in which to learn and play.

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!


Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque has been designated a Tree City USA community for 16 years and awarded the  Growth Award twice.

Albuquerque NMHome to 550,000 residents, Albuquerque is a city fused with western flare and modern culture.  Despite its arid desert climate, Albuquerque manages to stay green, encompassing more than 1.5 million trees with 13% tree canopy coverage. The city also fosters a healthy lifestyle; a 2007 March issue of Men’s Fitness listed Albuquerque as the fittest city in the United States. Residents are certainly making the most of the city’s 361 parks.

In addition to healthy people, Albuquerque also produces healthy air, removing 366 tons of air pollutants annually, saving $1.1 million in air filtration costs. Contrary to desert stereotypes, the city receives rainfall; in fact the urban forest intercepts 11.1 million gallons of stormwater runoff annually, saving $3.42 million in stormwater management costs. On top of that, the city saves as much as $3.76 million in energy costs.

Albuquerque’s urban forest is an asset valued at $1.93 billion.

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

Allison Fisher, Neptune Township, New Jersey, and Bill Comery, Paramus, New Jersey, Beneficiaries of the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Tree Recovery campaigns have become an important resource to people affected by natural disasters. Since 2006, the Arbor Day Foundation has given nearly 1.6 million trees to people in communities recovering from natural disasters.

The size, scope and scale of Superstorm Sandy that pounded the eastern seaboard in October, 2012 was unprecedented.

Hurricane-force winds, storm-surge flooding, and salt water damage had a lethal effect on trees in many states, especially the “Garden State” of New Jersey, which lost millions of trees.

Allison Fisher

Credit: NJTV

The people of New Jersey love their trees. Allison Fisher from Neptune Township remarked, “You know you’re so used to seeing something and then it’s not there. It’s like a missing puzzle piece.”

To accelerate the urgent replanting needed, and to begin bringing hope and healing to the people and communities in need, the Arbor Day Foundation and New Jersey Division of State Forestry Services launched the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign. This year, some 100,000 trees were given to residents at 97 events in 18 counties.

Nj Tree Recovery 6Bill Comery, long-time Paramus resident and that city’s former director of parks and forestry, has seen first-hand the hope and healing brought forth by the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign.  Said Comery, “More and more communities are engaged. We are on the road to recovering our precious tree canopy, one tree at a time.”  Comery personally witnessed the devastation that hit close to home – literally. “I woke up the morning after the storm and was very disheartened to see my prized scarlet oak damaged beyond repair,” he said. Comery’s scarlet oak was documented as the largest in the entire state of New Jersey. Comery continued, “The tree had provided canopy coverage to my entire home. After its loss, I noticed that I had to run the air conditioner a lot more, and completely alter my landscaping from full shade to full sun.”

Comery is replanting, having planted several trees including some of his favorite species of oak and beech. He concluded, “We need trees for all of the benefits that they provide.  It’s very much a quality of life issue. Trees greatly improve the quality of life in a community. And now, more than ever, with the help of the Arbor Day Foundation and its Community Tree Recovery Campaign, we in New Jersey are taking care to plant the right tree in the right place and restoring our vibrant tree canopy.”

2014-03-29 10.08.45To foster diversity, 29 species were distributed as part of the New Jersey Community Tree Recovery Campaign: Oaks and pines. Spruces and firs. Basswood, beach plum, and bay berry. Black gum and black walnut. Bald cypress and sycamore. The list is long, the trees are beautiful, and their impact will last for generations. The plantings, which will continue, are a heroic response to a natural catastrophe—companies, municipalities, and volunteers taking action to bring green abundance back to their communities.

In the future, “super-storms” such as Sandy are likely to be more frequent as climate change continues unabated. It has been said regarding climate change that we need to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable. The members and supporters of the Arbor Day Foundation share a simple, noble, and invaluable part of the solution: planting trees.

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!


Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia has been a designated Tree City USA community for 38 years and awarded the Growth Award 10 times.

Philly PAHome to 1.5 million residents, Philadelphia is rich in American history and boasts ample entertainment options. If you’re looking to explore the city’s historic attractions or kayak on the lake, the city’s 2.1 million trees and 16% tree canopy coverage will compel you to enjoy the scenic views that Philadelphia has to offer.

As you visit the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall, breathe easy knowing that Philadelphia’s urban forest removes 802 tons of air pollutants each year. The city saves $3.9 million in air filtration costs and $1,178,000 in energy savings annually.

Philadelphia’s urban forest is an asset valued at $1.8 billion.

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

James Settle, Roanoke, Virginia, Neighborhood Leader and Former Parks Advisory Board Member

James Settle“This stretch of road was a racetrack,” said Roanoke, Virginia, resident James Settle, recalling how speeding cars used to pour across a nearby bridge, down his street and past his family’s home.

Walking in James’ neighborhood was truly a dangerous proposition – until the City of Roanoke, a long-time Tree City USA recognized community, planted 26 ornamental and shade trees at the foot of the bridge. The trees grew into an effective entryway to the neighborhood and a buffer between busy traffic and single-family homes. The constancy of speeding cars subsided.

The new trees slowed traffic and made the neighborhood safer. In fact, James says he has never felt safer, and that the 26 trees made all the difference.

“If we could do only one thing as a neighborhood, we’d plant trees,” he said.

roanoke james sWhile other local neighborhoods hoped to realize the same safety benefits, a challenging budget situation reduced the overall number of trees that the city would be able to plant. Undeterred, James inspired a local volunteer group of tree stewards with the goal of giving every resident the same sense of comfort he now experiences.

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!


Bismarck, ND

Bismarck has been designated a Tree City USA community for 37 years and awarded the  Growth Award seven times.

Bismarck NDHome to 67,000 people, Bismarck is a quaint community with natural history and outdoor activities. If you’re visiting this city you can explore its charming boutiques and stroll through Bismarck Urban Harvest—an open-air arts and entertainment market aimed at supporting local businesses— and find shade under the city’s nearly 18,000 street trees.

Bismarck’s urban forest saves the city almost $500,000 in stormwater management costs by intercepting 7.1 million gallons of stormwater each year. In addition, residents can appreciate the $84,332 savings in energy costs. Furthermore, the city’s urban forest removes 6,412 tons in air pollutants, saving the city more than $3,000.

Bismarck’s urban forest benefits are valued at   $979,877.

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

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!