The Edmond Sun

Local News

March 20, 2014

City to plant trees for Arbor Week celebration

EDMOND — Edmond’s cityscape of urban canopies that beautify the city’s homes, parks, streets and rights-of-ways will be celebrated by this year’s Arbor Week celebrations, said Elizabeth Waner, city councilwoman.

“It also lets residents know the importance of maintaining our trees,” Waner said.

Edmond’s Arbor Week Celebration begins Monday. The Urban Forestry Department encourages all Edmond residents to celebrate Oklahoma Arbor Week by planting trees at their homes for energy savings, erosion prevention and to protect wildlife habitat, said Casey Moore, city spokesman.

The city’s master plan requires 10 percent landscaping in commercial project developments. The city is also leaning toward counting trees more than typical grasses.

“Not only do we get more bang for our buck, we get an improved tree canopy that enhances appearance, air quality and longevity,” Waner said.

Trees will be planted at 4 p.m. Thursday at Mitch Park along the new road from Santa Fe Avenue. Another planting will take place at 10 a.m. March 29 at KickingBird Golf Club to provide a buffer between the golf course and Danforth Road, Moore said.

Trees cover 35.9 percent of the City of Edmond, or 26,096 acres, said Leigh Martin, urban forestry assistant.  

An Edmond Arbor Day Poster Contest will celebrate community-wide plantings with an art show by fifth-graders titled “Trees in Our Town.” First- through fifth-place posters from each school will be displayed at the Edmond Historical Museum’s Arbor Day Art Show through April 5. The museum is at 431 S. Boulevard. More than 300 people attended the event last year.

All 16 of the first-place winners will be recognized by the Edmond City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night.

This year, representatives of the City of Edmond, the Edmond Tree Board and Edmond Electric received recognition for tree care. Edmond has participated in the Tree City USA program for 15 years and Edmond Electric has been part of Tree Line USA for 14 years.

To earn Tree City USA status from The National Arbor Day Foundation, a city must establish a tree board, create a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita annually on a community forestry program and celebrate Arbor Day with an official proclamation and city-wide observance.

Edmond Electric was honored along with 21 cities including Guthrie and Edmond as a Tree City USA community or Tree Line USA utility in Oklahoma. Tinker Air Force Base and Vance Air Force Base also were designated.

Edmond planted and maintained trees on public lands and distributed trees and educational material. Edmond qualified for a Growth Award by improving public outreach through creation of a quarterly email newsletter and new Facebook page.

The Tree Line USA program exists to recognize best practices in public and private utility arboriculture, demonstrating how trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens.

Edmond Electric practices quality tree care along utility rights-of-way and provides system-wide distribution of proper tree pruning information to all customers. It also helps sponsor the statewide Arbor Week and Edmond Celebration to receive Tree Line USA recognition.

“We realize that trees are a vital part of Edmond’s urban landscape,” said Jesse Martin, utility forester. “Our pruning practices allow for healthy trees as well as provide safe and reliable power to our citizens.”

Oklahoma Forestry Services coordinates the Tree City USA, Tree Line USA and Tree Campus USA programs in Oklahoma. It co-sponsors the annual celebration at the state capital with assistance from the Oklahoma Urban and Community Forestry Council Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to public education about the benefits of trees.

“I cannot imagine a world without trees,” said Mark Bays, state urban forestry coordinator.

TO LEARN more about Arbor Week activities, visit edmondok.com/arborweek or contact Leigh Martin at leigh.martin@edmondok.com.

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