OFS Celebrates Arbor Week & asks “Is Your City a Tree City?”

The week of March 25-31 is Arbor Week in Oklahoma and it’s a great time for Oklahomans of all ages to celebrate our natural wonders and most treasured resources together. Oklahoma Forestry Services strive to educate on the value trees provide to building successful, healthy cities and neighborhoods and we urge all residents to observe the week with appropriate tree planting activities and programs.

The Tree City USA® program, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities. The many benefits of being a Tree City include creating public awareness of the many social, economical and environmental benefits, providing education to improve current forestry practices, and touching the lives of people within the community who benefit daily from cleaner air, shadier streets, and aesthetic beauty that healthy, well managed forest provide.

To earn Tree City USA status from the Arbor Day Foundation, a city must establish a tree board, create a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita annually on a community forestry program and celebrate Arbor Day with an official proclamation and city-wide observance. Across Oklahoma, there are 23 cities, two Air Force bases and five public utilities that have been designated as a Tree City USA community or Tree Line USA utility this year. In addition, six universities have attained Tree Campus USA status.

Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese, State Forester George Geissler and Urban Forester Mark Bays recognized the hard work and dedication of these green communities, utility companies and college campuses at the Governor’s Mansion recently. “It’s impossible to imagine a vibrant city, town or community without trees,” said Urban Forestry Coordinator Mark Bays. “Our urban forests are at work 24 hours a day to help clean the air, reduce water erosion, provide cooling shade and add beauty all year long and these communities are the leaders in the state when it comes to this.”

Fun Facts for Tree Lovers:

  • Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%.
  • The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operation 20 hours a day.
  • For every 5% of tree cover added to a community, storm water runoff is reduced by approximately 2% by absorbing and filtering rainwater.
  • Over a year, an acre of forest can consume the amount of carbon dioxide created by driving a car 26,000 miles, about twice the annual mileage for an average driver.

Be a part of Oklahoma Arbor Week. Plant a tree. Teach our youth. Become a Tree City! For more information about tree planting or how your community or campus can get involved, contact Mark Bays at 405-522-6150 or mark.bays@ag.ok.gov.