Mount Clemens named Tree City for 26th year

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published April 5, 2012

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MOUNT CLEMENS — The ongoing efforts to keep Mount Clemens filled with Michigan’s native trees have not gone unnoticed.

For the 26th year, the city of nearly 20,000 residents and many, many more trees has been named a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to urban forestry.

The Arbor Day Foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees.

“We all benefit when communities like Mount Clemens place a high priority on planting and caring for trees, one of our nation’s most beautiful resources,” said John Rosenow, chief executive officer and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation, in a statement. “Trees shade our homes and add beauty to our neighborhoods, and they also provide many environmental, economic and social benefits.

“We applaud Mount Clemens’ elected officials, volunteers and citizens for providing vital care for its urban forest.”

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit, environmental and education organization, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Mount Clemens again this year met the four standards to become a Tree City USA community. According to Rosenow, Tree City USA communities must have a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, a community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. Arbor Day is April 27 this year.

Mount Clemens Mayor Barb Dempsey said there are many people involved in ensuring the city maintains its Tree City status.

“We have a committee that meets every so often with our director of public services (Jeff Wood) to discuss what needs to be done; if any trees need to be planted or if there are trees that need to be removed,” said Dempsey.

She said the committee has recently started discussing trees that appear to be dying along Macomb Place in the city’s downtown area. The trees’ roots are lifting bricks from the sidewalks. The committee also applies for grants to improve the greenery in the city.

Dempsey said the Mount Clemens Beautification Committee is also instrumental in making sure the city stays a Tree City. Each year, committee members plant a tree at George Washington Academy in the Mount Clemens Community Schools district. Not only does the committee provide a tree for the school each year, they also teach the students how to properly care for the trees and the overall importance of trees.

Communities that earn Tree City USA recognition not only have taken the time to meet the four standards, they know that trees promote healthier communities by filtering the air by removing dust and other particles, moderate climate, conserve water, provide vital habitat for wildlife, reduce the heat island effect in urban areas caused by pavement and buildings, reduce energy use and increase property values, Rosenow said.

“As long as we have people who are dedicated to the environment, we’ll continue to get the designation, which is great because it does take a lot of effort,” said Dempsey. “Not a lot of cities get this designation. I’m pleased that we’re still getting that recognition.”

More information about Tree City USA can be found at www.arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.

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