DNR FIELD NOTES
April 13, 2011
Celebrating Arbor Day and Healthy Urban Forests
By Aaron Everett
Washington State Forester
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Arbor Day is celebrated on the 13th of this month, but April is “Arbor Month” in Washington State. Throughout the month, officially designated Tree Cities in Washington State are bringing people and organizations together at events to recognize their achievements and plant new trees. As they do, a conservation ethic is nurtured in our communities and in our children.
This year 80 communities throughout the state received the Tree City USA award for exemplary management of their urban forests. Urban trees and forests are important to our environment and quality of life. The national Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA awards identify the communities that have shown outstanding commitment to sustaining these values.
Cities receive this national recognition by meeting standards for a healthy, sustainable, well-managed community forest through city ordinances that protect trees, long-term planning, citizen advocacy, and financial support.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages cities to care for their urban forests and provide assistance and education about planning for tree planting. Planting the right trees in the right places and taking care of them after planting are ways to grow healthy trees that provide environmental, social, and ecological benefits.
Urban forests make cities better places to live. Parks, green spaces, and trees are the “lungs of the city,” and much more. If managed sustainably, trees help provide cleaner air, cleaner water, and help reduce our energy use.
Recent studies by the US Forest Service show that urban trees in Washington State remove 20,000 tons of air pollution annually. Research from the University of Washington’s social scientists shows that living around trees improves our quality of life in ways often underestimated. Trees affect our everyday moods, activities and emotional health. They add value to our homes and businesses, and make our communities more inviting.
The United Nations has declared 2011 as the International Year of the Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
These goals for sustainable management, conservation and development of all types of forests go hand-in-hand with the efforts made by DNR and the 80 Tree Cities honored this year for managing their urban forests sustainably.
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EDITORS: The following commentary from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is provided for you to use in your publication or on your website at any time.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Community Outreach and Environmental Education, 360-902-1122 or firstname.lastname@example.org