Tree City USA is a program that has been up and running since 1976, and is designed to encourage communities around the country to expand their network of public trees. Currently, there are over 3400 communities that have committed to being a Tree City USA, one of which is Merced, a city located in Central California, not too far from Sacramento.
Tree City USA – Merced
The Tree City USA program is run by the National Arbor Day Foundation, and although Arbor Day is usually celebrated on the last Friday of April, the organization aims to showcase the importance of trees throughout the year. Each year, Merced plants new saplings to mark the way in which the city appreciates their trees, holding a ceremony so that the public can also celebrate this. Trees are planted throughout the city in various locations, but are often placed around educational institutions, such as schools and colleges.
For those who want to check out some of the trees that have been planted around Merced, a great way to do this is by touring a few of the local campuses. UC Merced is a beautifully green campus that you can explore, and they have a number of different tours available. The walking tours here last for 60 minutes each, but you will need to register for this in advance. Alternatively, get in touch with some of the other institutions that celebrate Arbor Day, such as Rivera Middle School and Stowell Elementary School, and see if you can arrange a private tour.
Tree City USA Status
In order to acquire the status of being a Tree City USA, communities must meet four separate criteria. The first is having a tree department, and they must also have a community tree ordinance. In addition to this, the community must spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry, which is easy enough to do, and must also celebrate Arbor Day, which, again, is something that would benefit the entire public living in that community.
The Benefits of Trees
While everybody knows that trees are extremely beneficial to the planet, many do not realize just how much we all depend on them. Climate change is a big issue that we are facing today, and trees can single-handedly help to fight against this, while also taming storm water. Trees are also commonly referred to as a low tech and easy solution to energy problems, as they can go a long way when it comes to saving energy, and they are also vital when it comes to conserving soil and water. By encouraging the growth and appreciation of trees, the National Arbor Day Foundation are having a huge impact on the health of each community that has signed up to be a Tree City USA.
Tree City USA is a fantastic environmental program that more and more cities are signing up for. If your city is not currently registered as a Tree City USA, head on over to the National Arbor Day Foundation’s website, and see what you need to do to acquire Tree City USA status for your city.