Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry’s Southwest Region Urban Forester Wendi Van Buren recently visited Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst and presented him with a certificate naming Sidney a Sterling Tree City USA Community. The award would have been presented at the Southwest Ohio Regional Awards Celebration had the luncheon not been cancelled as a result of the COVID pandemic.
The award is presented to Tree City USA communities across the United States who have received Growth Awards for ten years. Growth Awards can be earned in any one of four categories. The categories include: 1) education and public relations; 2) partnerships; 3) planning and management; and, 4) tree planting and maintenance.
“I really wanted to publically present this award to Sidney’s Tree Board at the Southwest Ohio Region Award Celebration this year,” Van Buren stated in presenting the award. “There are few communities nationwide who have been able to earn the award,” Van Buren continued.
“For example, Arkansas and Maine only have one Sterling Tree City USA community each, Louisiana has two, Montana has four, and both Michigan and Minnesota have five each. I’m not talking about awards presented this year, but awards presented since the beginning of the Arbor Day Foundation Programs. It is really quite an accomplishment,” Van Buren continued.
“Sterling Tree City USA communities are recognized as leaders in urban forestry and are often looked upon as innovators,” Van Buren explained. “I know how hard Sidney’s Tree Board has worked on preparing for this year’s awards banquet. Some years ago, they asked to host the event as part of their Bicentennial celebration. I know how disappointed they were when it had to be cancelled.“
Because of social distancing requirements being followed by the Ohio Division of Forestry and other state agencies, the entire Tree Board was not invited to attend the presentation.
Sidney has earned Tree City USA recognition annually since 1989. The award is presented to honor the City’s commitment to urban forestry management.
“I was honored to accept the award on behalf of the Tree Board,” Barhorst stated. “When Wendi called and asked to meet with me personally, I thought that it was to pick up information we had collected in preparation for this year’s event. As a result, I was even more surprised to receive the certificate!”
“The City of Montgomery is scheduled to host the awards luncheon next year, and have asked that we co-host with them,” Barhorst continued. “I don’t want to take away from their community’s celebration, but we will make a presentation at the very beginning of the event to the City of Montgomery and their mayor, Chris Dobrozsi, then we’ll sit back and enjoy the event.”
“I want to commend the Tree Board, including Chair Ann Asher, Vice-Chair Mike Jannides, Ross Moore III, Ann Sharp, Rick Steenrod, as well as Sidney Arborist Brian Green and our faithful volunteer, Joyce Reier, for their efforts,” Barhorst said. “I also want to thank City Council’s liaison to the Tree Board, Darryl Thurber, as well as past members of the board, all of whom were invited to attend this year’s event so they could be recognized for their efforts to make Sidney a better place to live, work, worship, play and raise a family.”