Washington C.H. was named a 2017 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of the community’s commitment to effective urban forest management.
The community also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and a high level of tree care.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U. S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
“Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.”
Locally, Don Creamer, George Shoemaker, Brenda Caudill, Marlene Rankin, Ted Hawk, Tom Pieratt, Jim Merkowitz, Kelley Ford and Joe Denen make the tree program possible.
“I am proud of the local members of the tree committee,” said Washington C.H. City Manager Joe Denen. “This year Brenda Caudill is the chairperson and she is doing a wonderful job. Brenda, along with the other tree committee members, have considerable skill and knowledge.”
Trees help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollution and provide wildlife habitat, among other benefits.
The Tree City USA program has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees.
More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA. They have achieved Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
There are many benefits of the program. The first is reduction of costs for energy, stormwater management, and erosion control as trees yield three to five times their cost in overall benefits to the city. The program also helps to cut energy consumption by up to 25 percent according to studies that indicate that as few as three additional trees planted around each building in the United States could save $2 billion annually in energy costs.
Additionally, it helps to boost property values across the community with properly placed trees increasing property values from 7 to 20 percent and buildings in wooded areas renting more quickly with tenants staying longer. Finally, the program has helped to build stronger ties to neighborhoods and communities with trees and green spaces, showing a direct correlation to greater connections to neighbors.
For more information about the Tree City USA program, visit: arborday.org/TreeCityUSA
The information in this article was provided by Washington Court House City Manager Joe Denen.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy
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