City earns recognition for tree plantings

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Greencastle has once again been named among 56 Hoosier cities and towns to be given the Indiana Department of Natural Resources distinction of Tree City USA.

The honor will officially be given Saturday, May 6 during a 10 a.m. ceremony on Veterans Memorial Highway, site of the memorial tree planting that helped win the city the award. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and take part in the hour-long Arbor Day ceremony where local veterans will also be honored.

Pam Louks, DNR state urban forestry coordinator, along with Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar's representative Emmy Huffman, are scheduled to attend the event.

DNR's Community and Urban Forestry (C&UF) program, in partnership with the National Arbor Day Foundation, is giving the awards for urban forestry work done in 2005.

"These 56 communities are unique in that they are in a state that has 568 cities and towns -- each of which could achieve Tree City USA status. They are a progressive, unique example for their neighboring cities and towns to follow," said Pam Louks, DNR State Urban Forestry Coordinator.

The purpose of the program is to offer an incentive to communities who want to improve their environmental health by implementing or improving urban forestry programs.

To achieve this local, state, and national status, each municipality must meet four standards. They must have a public tree care ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on the care, maintenance, planting, and removal of trees on public property, a municipal department and a tree board to manage the urban forestry program, and celebrate Arbor Day with a proclamation.

"The urban forest is a vital resource for cities and towns. It not only cleans our air and water, it is responsible for bringing people together to implement positive environmental change in their communities. Trees give us the breathe of life with more than oxygen," said Louks.

Tree Cities for 2005 are: Anderson, Angola, Auburn, Beech Grove, Bedford, Berne, Bloomington, Carmel, Chesterton, Columbia City, Crown Point, Decatur, East Chicago, Edgewood, Elk-hart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Fortville, Fowler, Goshen, Greencastle, Greendale, Greenfield, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Hammond, Huntington, Indianapolis, LaPorte, Lafayette, Madison, Michigan City, Middlebury, Mishawaka, Mitchell, Montpelier, Mount Ayr, Muncie, Munster, Nappanee, Nashville, New Harmony, Newport, Noblesville, North Manchester, Richmond, Rochester, Salem, South Bend, Syracuse, Terre Haute, Tipton, Valparaiso, West Lafayette, Whiting, Winamac, and Zionsville.

The newest Tree Cities recognized for the first time are Beech Grove, Fortville, and Newport.

Indiana's first Tree City was Bloomington in 1984, the largest is Indianapolis, and the smallest is Mount Ayr with a population of 147. The awards will be presented to individual cities and towns by Division of Forestry staff.

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