SIDNEY — The city of Sidney has been named a 2017 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation the 29th consecutive year.
Sidney was first named Tree City USA in 1989. The award is granted for the city’s commitment to effective urban forest management.
“More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA,” Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe said when making the announcement. “They have achieved Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board; having a community tree ordinance; spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry; and, celebrating Arbor Day.”
“Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,” Lambe continued. “Recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.”
The city was also recognized as having earned a Tree City USA Growth Award. Growth Awards are presented to those communities that demonstrate environmental improvement and a higher level of tree care. Eligible activities fall into one of four categories, and each activity has an associated point value. Those categories include: 1) education and public relations; 2) partnerships; 3) planning and management; and, 4) tree planting and maintenance.
Sidney’s Growth Award was achieved as a result of Tree Board Member Anne Sharp and Mayor Mike Barhorst graduating from the Tree Commission Academy and the Tree Board undertaking the city’s first-ever tree sale. Told that much larger cities would sell twenty-five trees their first year, the sale, which included six different species of trees, sold just over three hundred trees.
“Sidney is one of more than 3400 communities that have achieved Tree City USA designation,” stated Tree Board Chair Ann Asher. “Those communities have a combined population of more than 140 million people!”
“The benefits of the Tree City USA are substantial,” Tree Board Vice-Chair Michael Jannides said. “The Tree City USA program provides direction, assistance and national recognition for our community. It provides the framework for a healthy, sustainable urban forestry program in our city.”
“There are dozens of reasons why we should plant trees,” Sidney Arborist Joyce Reier said. “Trees lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade. Shaded surfaces may be 20–45°F cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded surfaces.”
“In addition, trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 to 50 percent in energy used for heating,” Reier continued. “If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in five years your energy bills should be 3 percent less, and in 15 years, the savings will be nearly 12 percent, and the savings continue to grow as the tree matures.”
“The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion,” Street Superintendent and Arborist Brian Green said. “This allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas also help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams.”
“Trees absorb carbon dioxide, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. During one year, a mature tree on average will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in exchange,” said Tree Board Member Ross Moore III. “One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for four people.”
“If for no other reason, people who dislike raking leaves in the fall ought to appreciate the economic value of trees,” Tree Board Member Anne Sharp said. “One mature tree in your yard can increase the value of your home between $1,000 and $10,000. A street tree can increase the value of your home by as much as $7,000!”
“I want to thank the city arborists, the members of the Tree Board, and all of our residents who have planted trees and care for them,” Mayor Barhorst said. “Tree City USA recognition is a group effort, and certainly one of which I am proud that we have been able to achieve, year after year.”