Earlier this week, Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst was advised that the City of Sidney was named a 2020 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. First named Tree City USA in 1989, this marks the 32nd consecutive year the city has received the designation. The award is granted for the city’s commitment to effective urban forest management.
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.
“More than 3,600 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA,” Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe stated in 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 positive effects of an urban forest firsthand,” Lambe continued. “The trees being planted and cared for by both residents and the City of Sidney are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.”
“Sidney is one of more than 3600 communities that have achieved Tree City USA designation,” stated Tree Board Chair Ann Asher. “Those communities have a combined population of more than 155 million people!”
“The benefits of being designated Tree City USA are substantial,” Tree Board Vice-Chair Michael Jannides added. “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,” City of Sidney Arborist Brian Green stated. “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% and can save 20–50% in energy used for heating,” Green continued. “If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in five years your energy bills should be 3% less, and in 15 years, the savings will be nearly 12%, and the savings continue to grow as the tree grows and matures.”
“The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion,” said Tree Board Member Ross Moore III. “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,” Tree Board Member Anne Sharp stated. “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 Rick Steenrod stated. “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 concluded. “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.”
“If ever there was a good time to plant trees, now is that time,” Barhorst continued. “Communities around the world are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, energy use, and extreme weather events.”
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. The Foundation recently launched the Time for Trees initiative with an unprecedented goal of planting 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspiring 5 million tree planters by 2022.
“My wife and I hope to plant four trees in our yard this spring,” Barhorst stated. “I would encourage residents to consider planting a tree in their yard, demonstrating their commitment to the future of our community."