Ohio is No. 1 in nation for Tree City USA communities

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Pictured at the Central Ohio Tree City USA Awards are (left to right) James Wills Jr., forestry supervisor for the City of Springfield; Peter Smith, program manager for the Arbor Day Foundation; Matt Ulrey, parks and urban forestry manager for the City of Westerville Parks and Recreation Department; Tyler Stevenson, urban forestry coordinator for the ODNR Division of Forestry; Dan Yarnell, city arborist for the City of Wooster; and Dave Lane, assistant chief for the ODNR Division of Forestry.
Pictured at the Central Ohio Tree City USA Awards are (left to right) James Wills Jr., forestry supervisor for the City of Springfield; Peter Smith, program manager for the Arbor Day Foundation; Matt Ulrey, parks and urban forestry manager for the City of Westerville Parks and Recreation Department; Tyler Stevenson, urban forestry coordinator for the ODNR Division of Forestry; Dan Yarnell, city arborist for the City of Wooster; and Dave Lane, assistant chief for the ODNR Division of Forestry.

COLUMBUS — Ohio was recognized as the leading Tree City USA state in the nation for the 35th consecutive year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The Buckeye State currently has 241 participating cities, villages and townships that have achieved the Tree City USA designation for 2015.

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“We are proud to once again be named the nation’s Tree City USA leader with 241 Ohio communities that have started urban forestry programs to promote the care of the trees in cities, townships and villages across the state,” said Robert Boyles, Ohio’s state forester.
“More Ohioans are now enjoying urban landscapes populated by healthy trees, while their communities realize the benefits of the cleaner air and water these trees provide. We want to especially commend the cities of Springfield, Westerville and Wooster for celebrating their 40th year as Tree City USA communities.”

 
As part of this nationwide program, Ohioans last year planted more than 28,000 trees, pruned more than 87,000 trees, volunteered more than 56,000 hours in their urban forestry programs and invested nearly $45 million toward urban forestry efforts. Since 1979, the ODNR Division of Forestry has assisted communities in enhancing the quality of life within cities and villages through comprehensive urban forestry programs. In 1997, Ohio became the first state to have more than 200 Tree City USA communities.

 

Inaugural

 

Three Ohio communities — Springfield, Westerville and Wooster — have been recognized as inaugural Tree City USA communities since they have participated in the national program since its inception in 1976. Participating communities must establish a tree board or department to carry out a tree care program, enact a community tree ordinance to provide direction, fund the community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, as well as celebrate Arbor Day with a community ceremony and mayoral proclamation.

 

If local communities are interested in learning more about becoming a Tree City USA community, they may contact Tyler Stevenson at 614-265-6707 or tyler.stevenson@dnr.state.oh.us. The list of Ohio’s 2015 Tree City USA communities is available at bit.ly/2015OhioTreeCityUSA.

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