COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio retained its standing this year as the nation’s leader in Tree City USA communities with 236 participating cities, villages and municipalities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). This marks Ohio’s 24th year as the top Tree City USA state.
As part of this nationwide program, Ohioans last year planted more than 44,000 trees, pruned more than 102,000 trees, volunteered more than 41,000 hours, and invested more than $33 million towards 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 tree planting and care programs. In 1997, Ohio became the first state to have more than 200 Tree City USA communities.
“Citizens living within any of Ohio’s 236 Tree City USA communities are enjoying a variety of benefits that come with having more trees, such as increased greenery, stormwater absorption and decreased noise levels,” said John Dorka, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “I applaud these communities’ efforts in making Ohio, once again, the nation’s leader in this important project.”
Participating communities must meet a list of criteria, including establishing a Tree Board or department to carry out a tree care program; enacting and enforcing a Community Tree Ordinance to provide direction; funding the community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita; and celebrating Arbor Day with a community ceremony and mayoral proclamation.
The Tree City USA program, created in 1976, is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and the National Association of State Foresters.