Greencastle Tree City USA streak grows to 14 years

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Greensburg may have the famous tree in its courthouse, but it's got nothing on the City of Greencastle when it comes to trees.

For the 14th straight year Greencastle has received national recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation as a 2012 Tree City USA community. The city was again cited for its continued commitment to effective urban forestry management.

And for the fourth consecutive year, Greencastle has also branched out to receive a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating progress in its community forestry program. The Growth Award honors environmental improvement and higher levels of tree care in Tree City USA communities.

Greencastle again met all four standards necessary to become a Tree City USA community. The Tree City USA communities must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Overall, 65 Hoosier cities and towns have each been recognized as a Tree City USA by the DNR Division of Forestry for outstanding management of their urban forests. Sixteen of those also received the Growth Award.

"In 2012, Indiana's 65 Tree Cities planted more than 14,500 trees, removed 15,800 (some due to trees lost to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer), and pruned 45,357," State Forester John Seifert said. "These municipalities are to be commended for utilizing the urban forest as a tool to enhance economic development, environmental health, and quality of life in their community."

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 the state. In 2012, four cities were awarded Tree City USA for the first time -- NSA Crane, Hartford, Dana and Batesville.

The communities will be formally recognized by DNR Forestry staff during April and May at Arbor Day ceremonies throughout the state.

The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters sponsor the program, which now includes 3,447 Tree Cities nationally, 443 of which received the Growth Award.

"Communities that are honored with a Tree City USA designation and a Growth Award make a strong commitment to planting and caring for trees, and we applaud their efforts," Arbor Day Foundation founder and Chief Executive John Rosenow said.

"We also commend a community's elected officials, volunteers and its citizens for providing needed care for its trees. They recognize that trees provide numerous environmental, economical and health benefits for the community every day."

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