Arbor Day celebration: What is a Tree City?

  • Published
  • By Lucas Oligschlaeger, Natural Resources Program
  • Natural Resources Program
Many people, even those of us who work or live here, are unaware that Holloman is a Tree City U.S.A, as recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization founded in 1972, 100 years after the first Arbor Day observance in the 19th century. The foundation is the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with nearly one million members, supporters and valued partners.

For the past six years, the award of Tree City status to Holloman has been a part of the celebration of Arbor Day. In 2010, an Arbor Day celebration will take place on the March 12 near Harmon Loop to the southeast of the Officers Club. The celebration event will include planting of trees by members of the Youth Center and free educational materials on the value and proper care of trees.

You may ask, "What makes Holloman a Tree City and what are the benefits afforded to Holloman residents?"

To qualify for Tree City U.S.A., a town or city must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. These standards ensure that every qualifying community will have a viable tree management plan and program. The four criteria are: a tree board or department; tree care ordinance or policy; community forestry program with annual budget of at least $2 per capita; and an Arbor Day observance including proclamation.

Holloman reaps various benefits from attaining Tree City status. Being a Tree City U.S.A. helps present a community image that most citizens want to have for the place they live or work. Presentation of the Tree City U.S.A. award and the celebration of Arbor Day offer an excellent opportunity to showcase how the Department of Defense and the Air Force serve as environmental stewards of the various natural resources present within the borders of Holloman. Gaining and retaining Tree City U.S.A. recognition is also an award to the tree workers, contracted managers, volunteers, tree board members and others who work on behalf of better care of a community's trees.

Indirect benefits of proper community forestry management include reduced cost for energy, storm water management and erosion control. Studies indicate that as few as three additional trees planted around each U.S. building could save our country over $2 billion annually in energy costs.

If you don't think any of these effects can reach you as an individual, please let the celebration of Arbor Day serve as a reminder that we all benefit from the cleaner air, shadier streets and aesthetic beauty that healthy, well-managed urban forests provide.