On Friday, April 30, the National Arbor Day Foundation will give Arlington County government its 24th consecutive “Tree City USA” designation. The award is being given to the community for its efforts for effective urban forest management.
The award will be presented on the eve of the annual Arbor Day celebrations of the county in an event scheduled at the Carlin Springs Elementary School. The event will not be convened with its usual pomp this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the “Tree City” designation, Arlington will also be awarded its 17th consecutive “Growth Award” by Virginia’s Forestry Department for demonstrating exemplary levels of tree care and community engagement.
Dan Lambe, the President of Arbor Day Foundation, lauded the county’s efforts for both plantation and preservation of trees:
“The trees being planted and cared for by Arlington 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,” said Lambe.
Arlington county, according to the official estimates, is home to over 750,000 million trees of at least 122 different species. These trees have an estimated value of $1.41 billion. It is estimated that these trees provide environmental benefits worth a million dollars to the county every year by performing functions like storing carbon, removing pollution, avoiding stormwater runoff as well as saving money spent on energy.
The members of the Arlington County Board designated 32 of these trees as Notable Trees” on April 20. Size, rarity, and historic provenance, among other factors, determine the eligibility of trees for the award. The designation does not extend any special protection to the trees and is merely an honorary award. Established in 1985, the Notable Trees program has recognized 350 trees to date.
Matt de Ferrnati, the Arlington County Board Chair, reiterated the county’s commitment to protecting its trees:
“The conservation of our trees is of high priority to us; this Notable Trees program highlights the great service to our tree canopy and our health,” he said.
Arlington earned the “Tree City” recognition by meeting four standards set by the Arbor Day Foundation:
Establishment of a tree board
Spending $2 per capita on trees
Observation of Arbor Day
Creation of a community forestry program
The county’s performance on the tree preservation front will benefit it on many levels. For one, it will help enhance the county’s image as it will be seen as one that cares about the environment and, in turn, the quality of life of its citizens and future generations. Moreover, it will help beautify Arlington and improve property values and water quality in the county.
About Arbor Day
Arbor Day is celebrated in many countries around the world to encourage individuals and communities to plant and preserve trees. The National Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April.