New Rockford recognized for 30 years of commitment to trees
May 24, 2021
The City of New Rockford has achieved Tree City USA designation for the 30th straight year. This milestone anniversary is one of great pride to not only the members of the city's tree board, but to the entire community.
The city achieved Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
New Rockford was one of 54 North Dakota communities to receive the award based on 2020 accomplishments. New Rockford is also one of the longest running Tree City USA communities in the state, according to Gerri Makay, Community Forestry Program Manager for the North Dakota Forest Service. A resident of New Rockford, Makay is a longstanding member of the city's tree board, which coordinates efforts to green up the city and provide shade in its parks and along its streets, on both public and private property.
"Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "The trees being planted and cared for by New Rockford 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."
If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time. Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, energy use, and protection from extreme heat and flooding. The Arbor Day Foundation recently launched the Time for Trees initiative to address these issues, with goals of planting 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspiring five million tree planters by 2022.
New Rockford faces challenges of its own, as the community lost hundreds of mature trees in the July 2018 wind storm. With Tree City USA recognition, New Rockford has demonstrated a commitment to effective urban forest management and is doing its part to help address these challenges for New Rockford residents now and in the future. Efforts to commence a community-wide replanting are underway, with special focus on replacing the trees that have disappeared from the boulevards.
Tree planting is recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly activities in which citizens can participate. At the May 3 city commission meeting, President Stuart Richter signed a declaration announcing that the city would observe Arbor Day this Friday, May 28. This year's activity will take place at New Rockford-Sheyenne School, as students will be given saplings to plant as they exit on their last day. In the coming weeks, readers will hear more from Makay about both the tree board's current projects and what's on the horizon.
More information on the Tree City USA program is available at arborday.org.