Demopolis named a Tree City USA community

Published 11:06 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Demopolis has been named a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor its commitment to community forestry. The designation, which was handed down this week, marks the 24th year the city has received this national recognition.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.

Demopolis has met the four standards to become a Tree City USA community: having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

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“We work hard to make sure the trees and foliage we plant is in the best possible place and is well maintained,” city horticulturist Barbara Blevins said. “You have to take everything from drainage to location and sunlight into account.”

Communities that receive Tree City USA recognition not only have taken the time to meet these four standards, the recognize that:

Trees promote healthier communities. Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and other particles.

Trees moderate climate, conserve water and provide habitat for wildlife.

Trees in urban areas reduce the heat island effect caused by pavement and buildings.

Properly placed trees can increase property values, and buildings in wooded areas rent more quickly and tenants stay longer.

Blevins estimated that the city had planted 75 trees this year, 50 of which came through a no-match grant.

“A community, its elected officials and its citizens that provide needed care for its trees deserves recognition and thanks,” John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation said. “Trees are a vital component of the infrastructure in our cities and towns, and they also provide environmental and economical benefits. Cities that are recognized with a Tree City USA designation go to great lengths to plant and care for the community forest.”