Rochester Hills announces tree planting challenge

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published March 4, 2015

 A national champion Bebb Oak, located on Livernois, is depicted on the Rochester Hills logo.

A national champion Bebb Oak, located on Livernois, is depicted on the Rochester Hills logo.

Photo by Linda Shepard

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ROCHESTER HILLS — In celebration of 25 years of recognition as a Tree City by the Arbor Day Foundation, a new program urges city homeowners to plant a tree in 2015.

Kicking off the One Home One Tree Community Challenge, young Bebb Oak trees will be planted at each city park and school. A massive Bebb Oak, listed as a national champion, is located on Livernois south of Auburn Road and is depicted on the city’s logo.

“We plan to plant 25,000 trees over the next 12 months,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said. “With America’s largest Bebb Oak as our inspiration, we’ll be rolling all the phases of the most aggressive tree planting program in Michigan over the next few weeks.” 

The city will offer the first 250 people who want to participate in the city’s tree co-op program a free tree. Residents can choose from a variety of species, and the city will plant the tree and guarantee it for a year. In the fall, another 250 participants will receive a free city tree.

Within the coming year, One Home One Tree will expand. “We’ll be launching a map that will allow people to put a ping — so we can know where the trees are,” said Tara Presta, Rochester Hills chief assistant for marketing. “This is a 12-month project and we want to keep it fun for the residents.” Presta said the city will also offer white spruce seedlings in a distribution process that is still in the works.

This year, National Arbor Day is celebrated April 24. According to Arbor Day officials,  trees can increase property values, lower air-conditioning costs by shading windows and walls, add beauty to business districts and thwart erosion. Wooded areas help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams, improving water quality.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872, it is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

Since 1972 the Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with over one million members, supporters and valued partners.

Arbor Day Foundation officials encourage groups and individuals to celebrate the day by planting trees in parks, at schools as a class project, or in vacant lots. The foundation offers more than 200 popular landscape trees for sale at www.arborday.org.

One Home One Tree continues the city’s focus on the environment.  “From recycling and the purchase of hundreds of acres of green space, Rochester Hills is leading the way,” Barnett said.

Recyclebank, which provides discounts and coupons to recycling residents, was developed in 2009. In 2005, voters approved a 0.3-mill, 10-year millage to acquire and preserve green space.

For more information on the One Home One Tree Community Challenge, call (248) 656-4600.

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