The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry recently recognized 61 cities and towns as Tree Cities USA for outstanding management of their urban forests.
Greencastle was first awarded this distinction in 1997. Since then, the town has been on the list a total of nine years.
Paul Wilson, Greencastle Street Commissioner, is in charge of handling this program.
"To qualify a Tree City, there must be a tree ordinance passed, a tree committee must be in place, we must also have an Arbor Day celebration and the town must spend at least $2 per capita on their tree program. Greencastle has a population around 9,900," Wilson explained.
Mayor Sue Murray explained how Wilson came up with the idea for, "A Tree for a Veteran" day. This event will be held on May 3 and be observed as an Arbor Day celebration.
"A Tree for a Veteran" was designed as a living memorial to Putnam County Veterans. The trees are planted alongside Veteran's Memorial Highway. This year, Wilson said they planted 36 new trees to be dedicated at the May 3 celebration.
"We planted up to zone seven," Wilson said. "We are measuring off areas as zones so the families can find their veteran's tree easier, without having to walk down the whole road."
Mayor Murray will give her first Arbor Day proclamation during the first part of the May 3 event.
"There is an amazing amount of interest in reforesting the community," Murray said in regards to being a Tree City.
The Tree City USA program has been in existence in Indiana since 1984, when Bloomington met the criteria and became the first Tree City in Indiana.
"Becoming and remaining a Tree City is not an easy task," said Pam Louks, state community and urban forestry coordinator. "Since 2004, we have lost two Tree Cities each year. Out of the 568 cities and towns in the state, these 61 are truly unique in that they are making a concentrated effort to care for their urban forest, which cleans the air we breathe and water we drink."
Greencastle is one of 3,216 Tree Cities in the United States.