Steve Blue, Forester
Salina recognized as a Tree City USA Community for the 24th consecutive year
At a recent ceremony in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the
Kansas Forest Service and Arbor Day Foundation recognized Salina for the 24th consecutive year as a Tree City USA Community. In addition to Salina, 100 other Kansas communities were recognized for actively managing their community forest.
To qualify as a Tree City USA Community, a town or city must designate a tree board or department by municipal ordinance to operate the program, have an annual budget of $2 per capita, and observe Arbor Day on the last Friday in April with a proclamation and tree planting ceremony. These standards have been established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.
“People tend to take trees for granted. That’s why Salina’s accomplishments in the Tree City USA program are so important. In 2014, Kansas Tree City USA communities collectively spent $16.5 million managing community forestry by planting over 8,759 trees, pruning 44, 052 trees and removing over 13,793 dead or defective trees,” said Tim McDonnell, Community Forestry Program Coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service.
Research indicates that Kansas’ community forestry is at risk. Only one tree is being planted for every four removed. The national trend reveals that urban areas are expanding by 2.2 million acres each year. The values that trees provide are generally not considered as urban expansion occurs. Consequently valuable green space is lost each year. “Communities like Salina are making a difference, but they need additional funding and volunteer support,” said McDonnell. “Only when community-wide involvement exists will positive change occur in the present trends.” McDonnell encourages people in Salina to take time and thank the volunteers who serve on the city’s Tree Board, and to ask themselves how they can help.
For further information about trees, the Salina Tree Board, or how you can help support community forestry in Salina, contact Steve Blue, City of Salina Forester, at 785-826-7275. For information about the Arbor Day Foundation, visit arborday.org.