SIDNEY — Ohio has been recognized as the leading Tree City USA state in the nation for the 35th consecutive year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The Buckeye State currently has 241 participating cities, villages and townships that have achieved the Tree City USA designation for 2015. Sidney has been recognized as a Tree City USA since 1989.
“We are proud to once again be named the nation’s Tree City USA leader with 241 Ohio communities that have started urban forestry programs to promote the care of the trees in cities, townships and villages across the state,” said Robert Boyles, Ohio’s state forester. “More Ohioans are now enjoying urban landscapes populated by healthy trees, while their communities realize the benefits of the cleaner air and water these trees provide. We want to especially commend the cities of Springfield, Westerville and Wooster for celebrating their 40th year as Tree City USA communities.”
As part of this nationwide program, Ohioans last year planted more than 28,000 trees, pruned more than 87,000 trees, volunteered more than 56,000 hours in their urban forestry programs and invested nearly $45 million toward urban forestry efforts.
Since 1979, the ODNR Division of Forestry has assisted communities in enhancing the quality of life within cities and villages through comprehensive urban forestry programs. In 1997, Ohio became the first state to have more than 200 Tree City USA communities. Three Ohio communities—Springfield, Westerville and Wooster—have been recognized as inaugural Tree City USA communities since they have participated in the national program since its inception in 1976.
Participating communities must establish a tree board or department to carry out a tree care program, enact a community tree ordinance to provide direction, fund the community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, as well as celebrate Arbor Day with a community ceremony and mayoral proclamation.
Sidney’s mayoral proclamation was presented to City Arborist Joyce Reier at the April 4 City Council Meeting. The proclamation was read at the Arbor Day Celebration on Friday, April 29. This year’s celebration took place at Sidney Middle School.
Third Ward Councilmember Ed Hamaker stood in for Mayor Mike Barhorst. He delivered the mayoral proclamation. A Cleveland Black Pear tree was planted. The city provides a tree to a different school each year on Arbor Day.
In its 40th year, the Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and the National Association of State Foresters. ODNR’s Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands.