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Portland’s growing tree canopy provides many benefits

Photo Credit: OHS.org

Once nicknamed “Stumptown” for the massive clearing of trees during a phenomenal period of growth in the 1800s, Portland now proudly protects, encourages and monitors the growth of its expansive tree canopy and is dubbed a Tree City USA community.

In collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, the Tree City USA program “provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs” across the nation.

Portland has held the title of Tree City USA almost since the Arbor Day Foundation began the program in 1976.  The benefits of Portland’s dedication to being a Tree City USA for the past 35 years permeate the entire city.

According to a recent news article in the Oregonian, “an aerial imagery study released by the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation shows that the city’s tree canopy has grown by 2.6 percent over the past 10 years, and now covers nearly 30 percent of the city.”

Photo Credit: ColumbiaRiverImages.com

The Arbor Day Foundation has compiled information from various sources regarding the many benefits urban trees provide environmentally, economically, and socially for millions of Americans.

The Tree Canada Foundation asserts that “one tree provides oxygen for up to four people in one day.”

According to the Oregonian, “Portland has approximately 240,000 street trees, and 1.2 million trees throughout Portland’s parks.”

The U.S. Forest Service has determined that urban trees in the Chicago area filter an estimated “6,000 tons of air pollutants each year, providing cleansing valued at $9.2 million.”

And, according to a 2009 Parks Bureau study, the ecological benefits of Portland’s street and park trees are valued at $27 million annually.

Photo Credit: Oregonian

Other benefits of urban trees include better air, soil, and water quality, lower occurrences of asthma and stress among children, increased carbon sequestration, and reduced energy use for heating and cooling.  In fact, the International Society of Arboriculture has revealed that the shade and shelter provided by trees, annually reduces heating and cooling costs in the United States by $2.1 billion.

Mark Ross, Parks Bureau spokesman, states that Portland’s next goal will be to achieve a “33 percent urban tree canopy by 2030.”

Portland residents will surely enjoy and appreciate the many benefits a robust urban forest reaps for years to come.

Volunteers and local workers make a difference as drought threatens Joplin’s newly planted trees

Every year, natural disasters strike communities often resulting in a dramatic loss of trees that subsequently weakens the community’s environmental sustainability, economy, and sense of place.

Photo Credit: NPR.org

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Campaign is a structured response to the destruction caused by disasters in communities across the nation.   By collaborating and organizing with key state and local partners, the Arbor Day Foundation “facilitates the distribution of trees to citizens in communities in need.”

After the severe damage caused by the EF5 tornado that tore through Joplin in May 2011, a variety of organizations banded together to plant nearly 7,000 new trees in the devastated city.

Through a joint initiative with the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, the Arbor Day Foundation developed the Joplin Tree Recovery Campaign.  This campaign distributed 12,000 trees to residents in four Joplin-area locations.

Foundation officials have described the Joplin Tree Recovery Campaign as an effort to restore Joplin’s precious and beautiful tree canopy to what it was before the May tornado.

An NPR news article details that, “sturdy varieties such as oak, sycamore and redbud — trees that can withstand strong winds when they’re taller” have been planted throughout Joplin.

In spite of all the progress made through the combined efforts of local and national supporters, Joplin’s young, newly planted trees are now struggling to survive a different environmental threat: drought.

Tom Meyer, manager of Carson Nurseries in Springfield, explains that young “trees are especially vulnerable to the drought.”

According to Meyer:

Freshly planted trees are real reliant on human beings taking care of them.  They need to water right at the root base, and there’s very little root structure beyond what was just planted. They can’t bring in residual water from farther out.

Fortunately, students on mission trips, volunteers and other workers from around the Joplin area have formed “bucket brigades,” toting heavy, five gallon buckets of water in the searing heat to around 562 young trees planted in Joplin parks.

Photo Credit: Joplin Globe

Thanks to these efforts and the perseverance and dedication to the restoration of Joplin, Ric Mayer, Joplin’s tree coordinator, estimates that presently, less than three percent of the newly planted trees will not survive.

The battle for the trees’ survival is not yet over.  Mayer believes that if the volunteers keep at it, there is hope for saving most of the trees in Joplin parks, but volunteers tend to be in short supply through August and September.

Any volunteers who want to water the trees in Joplin’s parks are welcome.  Homeowners are advised to not neglect their newly planted trees as well.

If you would like to donate to the Arbor Day Foundation’s Joplin Tree Recovery Campaign and help Joplin in its efforts to restore and maintain its tree canopy, please click here.

The following “before and after” photos portray the destruction caused by the May 2011 EF5 tornado that went through Joplin.

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Foundation vice president weighs in on establishing successful corporate partnerships with non-profits

Dan Lambe, vice president of programs for the Arbor Day Foundation, offered his insight on forming successful corporate partnerships with non-profits in a recent article for the daily trade publication, Environmental Leader.

In this article, Lambe highlights several of the Arbor Day Foundation’s programs that are flourishing thanks to corporate partners and states that “corporations can further their environmental missions by forming strong and lasting conservation-oriented partnerships.”

He then outlines four key recommendations when forming conservation-oriented corporate partnerships.

Lambe’s first recommendation notes the critical importance of making a sustained commitment. He explains that, “companies assisting with replanting in national and state forests often pledge to support decades-long efforts as needs arise, rather than a one-time project that may result in less of a lasting impact”

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a great example of a partner that has made a sustained commitment. Enterprise commemorated its 50th anniversary in 2007 by forming a long-term partnership with the Foundation to plant 50 million trees over the next 50 years, for a gift totaling more than $50 million dollars.So far, nearly seven million trees have been planted.

Lambe’s second recommendation for corporate partners is “to come to the table with ideas on a potential niche,” adding:

Many smaller partners, for instance, choose to support replanting in neighborhoods or state and national forests close to their headquarters. Many larger partners are interested in larger projects that command national attention.

Toyota, the sponsor of the Tree Campus USA program has a particular interest in engaging young people in sustainability, Lambe points out.

The essential support from Toyota for the Tree Campus USA program develops the connection between the college student niche and the environment through tree planting events and recognition on college and university campuses.

Corporate partners recognize the positive impact that playing an active role in conservation efforts has on their customer base. A corporation that does not make a strong effort to be socially responsible will ultimately have a harder time doing business in the future.

Lambe’s third recommendation puts forth the requirement that “effective partners bring local contacts and credibility to initiatives. For big events, employees and their networks can serve as a volunteer base,” says Lambe. “Most corporate partners also maintain strong relationships with the media and can open the door to new visibility.”

The fourth recommendation advocates that “tree planting is an ideal project because it is unifying,” with Lambe adding that “a tree-planting mission is able to rise above political conflicts and achieve significant outcomes for corporations and non profits alike.”

Read the entire article here.

With support from Mary Kay, Inc., Nature Explore Classrooms helping to heal families affected by domestic violence

“It is an immediate pleasure to see children’s enthusiasm as they build, create, and discover in these nature-rich spaces. Children’s lives are more joyful, and they will always have in them a nature inspired sense of wonder.” John Rosenow

In 2009, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative (Pink Changing Lives) and in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Mary Kay, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Education Research Foundation, began sponsoring the development of Nature Explore Classrooms at women’s shelters across the United States.

Nature Explore Classrooms are outdoor learning spaces designed to incorporate nature in to children’s lives and have been found to be greatly beneficial for children affected by domestic violence.

Research done by environmental psychologist Dr. Nancy Wells has revealed that nature acts as a buffer of life-stress for children. Wells found that “having nature close to a home protects the psychological well-being of children. And the impact is strongest for children with the highest levels of stressful life events. In addition, having green space around the home boosts their cognitive functioning”, encourages resilience, and supports healthy development.

Nature Explore Classrooms consist of building, climbing, music and movement, nature art, garden and greenhouse, gathering, and messy areas.  Children can lose themselves in the calming activity of arranging natural materials such as pine cones, seed pods, or seashells in the Nature Art Area, or alleviate stress through climbing, crawling, and balancing in the Climbing Area.  The Gardening and Greenhouse Area involves children in gardening and develops a sense of wonder about the world, growth, and new beginnings, while the Messy Area expands a child’s curiosity and imagination and gives them a sense of accomplishment by allowing them to dig for snails and worms or build with natural materials.

Each Nature Explore Classroom’s design is unique to fulfilling the shared purpose of enabling children to experience the joy, wonder, excitement, and peacefulness of discovery, fresh air, and pure play in outdoor splendor.

Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay Foundation’s partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation led the way in 2009 as the first Nature Explore Classroom extolling the healing powers of nature to ever be constructed at U.S. domestic violence shelters. By the end of 2012, Mary Kay will have sponsored a total of 17 Nature Explore Classrooms.

The impact Mary Kay has had for victims of domestic abuse by partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation can be seen in the following video. This clip is testimony to the benefits of a quiet, safe and fun place for children to learn, play and heal.  Nature Explore Classrooms “provide a connection to nature that keeps people connected to the best in themselves and battles trauma and tragedy with play and purpose.”

Maine recognizes leading individuals and organizations during Arbor Week

Known as The Pine Tree State for the extensive pine forests that cover the state, Maine celebrated its Arbor Week 2012 during the third full week in May, May 20th – 26th.

This year, the Bangor Daily News highlighted Project Canopy, “a collaboration between the Maine Forest Service and GrowSmart Maine.” According to the Daily News:

Through projects such as supporting planting street trees downtown or a management plan development for town forests, Project Canopy works to help Maine communities stay leafy and green.

Project Canopy honored Arbor Week 2012 by awarding communities with grants for tree planting projects in their downtowns:

Grants were awarded to the City of Saco for elm trees and Japanese lilacs along the Route 1 business district; to Norway Downtown for additional trees in downtown; to the City of Belfast for red maples as part of the City’s Harbor Walk project; and to the City of Bath for a total of 45 trees in eight separate planting projects throughout the downtown.

You can find more information about Project Canopy here.

Photo Credit: eHow

The Maine Department of Conservation also “recognized the importance of trees in urban settings and the dedication of Maine communities to caring for those trees during its 2012 Maine Arbor Week Celebration.”

Held at the Longfellow Elementary School in Portland, the celebration “honored the civic devotion of several notable Maine residents,” including Robert and Beverly Dutton, owners of Dutton’s Nursery of Morrill. The Duttons donated more than 1,000 trees to 60 Maine communities and non-profits.

Arbor Day Foundation members from Maine have helped plant more than 82,960 trees across the state last year.

The State of Maine is currently home to 18 certified Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA community in Maine is Portland, population 64,000; the smallest is Castine, population 1,343.

North Dakota celebrates International Peace Garden, Vermont replants trees lost in Hurricane Irene

North Dakota

Nicknamed the “Peace Garden State” for being home to the International Peace Garden (a 2,339 acre Botanical Garden straddling the international Boundary between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba), the State of North Dakota honors Arbor Day today, the first Friday in May.

Photo Credit: Sterling News

The City of Fargo will honor Arbor Day with a tree planting by local elementary students and volunteers. The locations for the celebrations vary and include school grounds, parks city streets, bike trails and hiking areas. Bismarck will recognize Arbor Day by dedicating ceremonial Arbor Day trees to local citizens whose efforts have made a significant contribution to Bismarck’s urban forest.

According to the North Dakota Forest Service, the 2012 State Arbor Day Celebration will also honor the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts by planting a “Girl Scout Grove” at the International Peace Garden. Opened in 1932, the International Peace Garden claims to be the longest unguarded border in the world. This event offers the North Dakota Forest Service an opportunity to recognize the Girl Scouts for their many years of hands-on tree planting accomplishments.

It is fitting for the Girls Scouts to celebrate their centennial at the International Peace Garden since they were involved in its dedication in 1932.

You can find more information about the Girl Scouts Centennial, here.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 33,662 trees across the state last year. The State of North Dakota is currently home to 46 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in North Dakota is Fargo, population 99,200; the smallest is Pekin, population 80.


During the fall, Vermont’s trees attract tourists from all over the United States who come to see the brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange foliage. Known as the “Green Mountain State” for its green, forest-covered mountains, Vermont also recognizes Arbor Day today.

Photo Credit: PRWeb

The Vermont Division of Forestry offers a variety of activities for Arbor Day 2012. Vermont students (grades 1-8th) can engage in learning about trees through the “Growing Works of Art” contest. This competition is meant to enrich students’ knowledge about Vermont’s trees and provide students with an opportunity to author what will become a set of trading cards to be collected by students across the state.  You can learn more about the Growing Works of Art contest, here.

Vermont also hosts a unique activity called the “Arbor Day Passport.”  Students (grades K-8th) complete a certain number of workbook projects to receive prizes such as a set of Tree Trading Cards or a Vermont State Parks day use pass. Learn more here.

Over the past year, Hurricane Irene caused some of the worst flooding Vermont had seen in 83 years. As a result of the tropical storm, many trees were blown down or damaged and had to be trimmed or taken down. Vermont was the first state to designate a day to clean up the entire state known as, “Green Up Day.”

This year, The State Irene Recovery Office has partnered with Green Up Vermont to incorporate Irene recovery activities into Green Up Day, creating the Green Up to Recover initiative. If you’re interested in being involved with the tree-planting or other environmental volunteer opportunities associated with Green Up Day, you can find more information here.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 65,715 trees across the state last year.  The State of Vermont is currently home to 8 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Vermont is Burlington, population 39,348; the smallest is Peacham, population 668.


Midwestern states offer a variety of Arbor Day activities, from Curious George reading to community tree planting

(Ed. Note: 24 states celebrate Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, the same date as National Arbor Day, which this year falls on the 27th. This week, we’ll be highlighting what a variety of regions are doing to prepare for the tree-planting holiday. Today, we will feature Midwest states; Monday was New England; Tuesday was the Mid-Atlantic; Wednesday was Western states; and Friday the Great Plains.)


The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois is hosting a variety of activities for Arbor Day 2012.  The beloved children’s character, Curious George, kicks off the Arboretum’s Arbor Day festivities. Children can meet Curious George, hear the story Curious George Plants a Tree and help George plant a tree.

In celebration of Arbor Day, the Morton Arboretum will also be tagging several thousand trees around the City of Chicago and seven communities (Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Lisle, and Naperville) with green value tags, proclaiming their environmental worth in dollars. You can find out more about this project and the value of trees here. Additional Arbor Day activities can be found here.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 266,670 trees across the state last year.

The State of Illinois is currently home to 188 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Illinois is Chicago, population 2,746,590; the smallest is Steward, population 271.


The Indianapolis Power & Light Company recognizes Arbor Day 2012 by giving away 1,000 free trees as part of the Indy Free Tree program. The Indy Free Tree program aims to promote stewardship of the environment as well as to educate the public about the importance of trees, caring for trees and planting the “Right Tree in the Right Place” so as not to interfere with power lines.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 279,584 trees across the state last year. If you’re interested in Arbor Day activities or tree planting volunteer opportunities in your area, please visit the arbordaynow.org Volunteer Center.

The State of Indiana is currently home to 67 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Indiana is Indianapolis, population 860,454; the smallest is Mount Ayr, population 130.


Join Michigan’s Go Green Youth Challenge to honor Arbor Day this year. According to the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance website, the Go Green Youth Challenge is a statewide initiative to engage youth in environmental stewardship, community development and service-learning by participating in a campaign to plant trees in Michigan.

Photo Credit: ThePureBar.com

Youth (K-12) are challenged to collect coins as an individual, classroom or club. The coins collected will directly fund community tree plantings. Tree planting sites include school yards, cities and towns and conservation areas such as stream bank stabilization and habitat restoration.  Check for your or other community Arbor Day celebrations in Michigan here.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 405,923 trees across the state last year. The State of Michigan is currently home to 120 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Michigan is Detroit, population 850,000; the smallest is Richland, population 725.


Minnesota’s 2012 Arbor Month theme is “Creating a Healthy Community Forest.” The idea is to encourage planting a wide variety of native trees to create a diverse community forest that is more resilient to large-scale devastation by tree pests. To help diversify community forests, the DNR created A Homeowner’s Guide to Creating a Healthy Yard. You can download the guide here.

You can visit Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources website to find more activity suggestions for community Arbor Day Celebrations throughout the state.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 225,665 trees across the state last year. The State of Minnesota is currently home to 96 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Minnesota is Minneapolis, population 372,833; the smallest is Sunfish Lake, population 525.


Various Ohio communities are honoring Arbor Day with tree giveaways, nature walks and informational sessions on how to be responsible stewards of the earth.  Wilberforce University students and staff celebrated Arbor Day early on April 18, by planting 50 trees on campus. The trees were supplied by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 438,024 trees across Ohio last year. If you’re interested in Arbor Day activities or tree planting volunteer opportunities in your area, please visit the arbordaynow.org Volunteer Center.

The State of Ohio is currently home to 244 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Ohio is Columbus, population 769,360; the smallest is Put-In-Bay, population 128.


Communities in Pennsylvania are celebrating Arbor Day 2012 with festivals, tree giveaways, arborist demonstrations and tree tours.

Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Westchester will be showcasing its methods of combating the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle species that threatens the survival of Pennsylvania’s ash trees. The city of Westchester will be presenting an Emerald Ash Borer management plan and demonstrating how property owners can combat the insect that they hope others communities will embrace and implement.

Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 391,469 trees across the state last year. If you’re interested in Arbor Day activities or tree planting volunteer opportunities in your area, please visit the arbordaynow.org Volunteer Center.

The State of Pennsylvania is currently home to 108 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Pennsylvania is Philadelphia, population 1,540,539; the smallest is Eagles Mere, population 150.

Mid-Atlantic states take care of their urban trees

(Ed. Note: 24 states celebrate Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, the same date as National Arbor Day, which this year falls on the 27th. During the next few days, we’ll be highlighting what a variety of regions are doing to prepare for the tree-planting holiday. Yesterday, we featured New England; today we feature the Mid-Atlantic; Wednesday the West; Thursday the Midwest; and Friday the Great Plains.)

Four Mid-Atlantic States – Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia – and the District of Columbia celebrate Arbor Day this Friday.

District of Columbia

This Arbor Day the District of Columbia will finish commemorating the 100 year anniversary of receiving 3,000 cherry blossom trees from the mayor of Tokyo, symbolizing the friendship between the United States and Japan.  You can vote for America’s Favorite Cherry Tree here and the winner will be announced on Friday, April 27, Arbor Day 2012.

Over the last year, Arbor Day Foundation members have helped plant more than 15,001 trees in the DC area. If you’re interested in Arbor Day activities or tree planting volunteer opportunities in your area, please visit the arbordaynow.org Volunteer Center.

The District of Columbia is a Tree City USA community, home to 601,723 residents.


The Delaware Forest Service hosted the 2012 Arbor Day Poster Contest for Delaware students (K-5th). This year’s theme — Trees are Terrific…From Acorn to Oak! was designed to increase knowledge about the importance and diversity of the oak tree as well as to introduce students to the process of the life cycle of a tree. A state winner will be selected to represent Delaware as it celebrates Arbor Day 2012.

Arbor Day Foundation members from Delaware have helped plant more than 37,238 trees across the state last year.  There are also several environmental volunteering opportunities throughout Delaware if you visit the arbordaynow.org Volunteer Center.

The State of Delaware is currently home to 15 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Delaware is Wilmington, population 72,664; the smallest is Ardentown, population 300.

New York

The New York State Arbor Day Committee celebrates Arbor Day by encouraging New Yorkers of all ages to consider ways to preserve natural resources and to recognize the importance of trees and the impact they make in our everyday lives. New York is another state that holds a poster contest in hopes of promoting a healthy, balanced ecosystem to younger generations.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation offers some great tree-related activities, games and programs to help communities celebrate Arbor Day, you can check them out here.

Arbor Day Foundation members from New York have helped plant more than 396,698 trees across the state last year.

The State of New York is currently home to 104 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in New York is New York City, population 8,392,000; the smallest is Ellicottville, population 500.

New York City is the largest Tree City USA in the country.

New Jersey

Haddon Township has been selected to host the State of New Jersey’s annual celebration of Arbor Day this year on Friday, April 27th. Approximately 600 volunteers from all over New Jersey will be planting 125 trees provided by the state along with numerous state officials in attendance for the ceremony.  All volunteers — from novices to expert tree planters — are welcome.

Last year, the New Jersey Tree Foundation was awarded an Excellence in Urban Forest Leadership Award from the Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of its success at bringing new life to tough neighborhoods through tree planting.

Arbor Day Foundation members from New Jersey have helped plant more than 115,726 trees across the state over the last year.

The State of New Jersey is currently home to 172 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in New Jersey is Monmouth County, population 664,916; the smallest is Naval Weapons Station Earle population 600.


For over 10 years, Virginia’s Clean Fairfax Council and The County of Fairfax have organized Earth Day/Arbor Day events.  The 2012 agenda includes a Community Service Stream Clean Up, Urban Forestry Workshops, Arbor Day Tree Planting, Environmental Education and Games for Kids and more.  If you would like to volunteer for this event, you can find more information here.

Arbor Day Foundation members from Virginia have helped plant more than 213,586 trees across the state over the last year. If you’re interested in Arbor Day activities or tree planting volunteer opportunities in your area, you can visit the arbordaynow.org Volunteer Center.

The State of Virginia is currently home to 56 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Virginia is Fairfax County, population 1,059,211; the smallest is Surface Combat Systems Center, population 493.

On Arbor Day, Colorado still recovering from decade-old forest fire

Every year, Colorado honors Arbor Day on the third Friday of April, joining many other states that recognize Arbor Day early to take advantage of the optimal planting season.

Part of Colorado’s scenic beauty and natural resources stem from the Pike and San Isabel National Forests that span three million acres in central and southeast Colorado. More than 60 percent of the water used by Denver-area residents originates in the forest as rain or snowmelt.

When the Hayman Fire – the largest fire in Colorado’s history – burned approximately 137,000 acres in 2002, moderate and high intensity burn areas suffered 100 percent tree loss, along with the loss of future seed sources for natural regeneration.

Thanks to the help of Arbor Day Foundation partners, 140,000 ponderosa pine and Douglasfir trees were recently planted.  Wildlife is beginning to return to the area and newly planted trees are now covering a landscape once barren and charred. (Ed. Note: Two Arbor Day Foundation staff members were at Pike National Forest – pictured below – last week, alongside employees of Enterprise, a critical supporter in replanting national forests. Coverage of the activity is available here and here).

The State of Colorado honors Arbor Day with tree plantings and festivals. Colorado also involves fifth graders in recognizing Arbor Day by holding a yearly, statewide, Arbor Day Poster Contest. All Colorado communities have the opportunity to participate and tailor the contest to involve more students if necessary (grades K-6th). Typically, a winning poster is chosen from the local level to compete at the overall State level. This year’s Arbor Day poster theme for Colorado is “Celebrate Trees in Our Community.” You can check out Colorado’s winning poster from last year here.

The State of Colorado is currently home to 93 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Colorado is Denver, population 598,007; the smallest is Campo, population 154.

Photo credit: Coe Roberts

Washington State has success in forestland protection to celebrate this Arbor Day

Aptly nicknamed The Evergreen State for its copious evergreen forests, Washington celebrates Arbor Day today, April 11.

This year’s Arbor Day celebration holds significant meaning to the State of Washington. Since an update in Washington state law in 2009, Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark has been in charge of battling disease, insects and fires that have “caused significant deterioration of forest conditions and widespread damage to trees throughout eastern Washington.”

Washington’s 2009 Forest Health Highlights reported that over 1.73 million acres of land contained elevated levels of tree mortality, tree defoliation or foliar diseases, and nearly 6.4 million trees were reported as killed.

The 2011 Forest Health Highlights revealed a significant decrease in the number of acres of land containing some level of tree mortality, defoliation or foliar disease (approximately 950,000), with 1.5 million trees reported as recently killed. Effective forestry management makes a difference.

Each year, Washington’s Department of Natural Resources recognizes Arbor Day, not just on April 11, but throughout the entire month. Communities all over Washington can recognize Arbor Day in their own way too. Some ideal examples of Washington’s best Arbor Day Observances in 2012 include the City of Lacey that promotes tree planting with an annual seedling giveaway. The Arbor Day observance in Bellevue is followed by a family festival, and the City of Gig Harbor offers free admission and trees to anyone who drops by their Arbor Day observance, which includes poster and poetry contests for students, environmental and art booths, tree planting at City Hall, children’s activities, live music and raffle drawings.

The State of Washington is currently home to 80 certified Tree City USA communities, accounting for more than 2.8 million Washington residents. The largest Tree City USA community in Washington is Seattle, population 563,374; the smallest is Hunts Point, population 450.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.