Oklahomans Recognized at Local Arbor Day Event

OKLAHOMA CITY— Oklahoma Forestry Services in conjunction with the Oklahoma Urban and Community Forestry Council recognized 38 Oklahoma communities, campuses and utility companies for achieving national certification from the Arbor Day Foundation for their commitment to greener environments. These organizations earned national designations by accomplishing specific criteria related to planting and caring for trees, woodlands and community forests in their communities and on campuses.

The annual celebration took place at Oklahoma City University to kickoff Oklahoma’s Arbor Week, which is observed the last week of March. In addition to recognizing the groups who have attained Arbor Day Foundation designations, the group heard about tree planting opportunities on school properties and the state’s Green School program, including a presentation by kids from Terra Verde Discovery School. Attendees helped plant an Eastern Redbud on the OCU campus.

“We celebrate these groups who have worked hard to achieve Arbor Day Foundation certifications and are benefiting their communities and campuses in numerous ways,” said State Forester and Oklahoma Forestry Services Director, Mark Goeller. “We also encourage other communities and campuses to accept the challenge and begin improving the health and quality of life for people in their communities and on campuses.”

Through the Arbor Day Foundation, communities can earn Tree City USA status by meeting core standards of sound urban forestry management, maintaining a tree board, having a community tree ordinance, spending a minimum of two dollars per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

Communities honored for achieving Tree City USA designation include: Ada, Alva, Ardmore, Bartlesville, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Edmond, Enid, Guthrie, Kingfisher, McAlester, Midwest City, Morrison, Muskogee, Nichols Hills, Norman, Oklahoma City, Pauls Valley, Ponca City, Shawnee, Tinker AFB, Tulsa and Vance AFB.

Tree Campus USA designation is available to colleges and universities that effectively manage their campus trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy community forests and strive to engage their student population utilizing service learning opportunities.

Campus USA honorees include: Cameron University, Northeastern University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma State University and all four campuses of Tulsa Community College.

The TreeLine USA program exists to recognize best practices in public and private utility arboriculture, demonstrating how trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens. Requirements include providing quality tree care, annual worker training; community tree planting and public education, tree-based energy conservation program and an Arbor Day observance. Utility companies honored for achieving Tree Line USA designation are: AEP/PSO, Edmond Electric, OG&E, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative and People’s Electric.

For more information about obtaining Arbor Day Foundation certification, contact Mark Bays, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, Oklahoma Forestry Services, at 405-522-6150 or mark.bays@ag.ok.gov or visit the Arbor Day Foundation website at https://www.arborday.org/.