Athens-Clarke County, GA was named a 2017 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. This is the 18th consecutive year that Athens-Clarke County has been named a Tree City USA.
Athens-Clarke County achieved the recognition by meeting the program's four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The designation was presented at the Northeast Georgia Regional Arbor Day 2018 Celebration and Tree City USA luncheon hosted by the Athens Community Tree Council on February 15 at the University of Georgia's Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources Flinchum’s Phoenix building in Whitehall Forest.
A tree planting project also took place in the Rocksprings neighborhood on February 16 as part of the local Arbor Day celebration with volunteer opportunities and the reading of the Tree City USA proclamation. A video of the tree planting event is available at www.accgov.com/videos or www.youtube.com/accgov.
"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. "Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it's through volunteer engagement or public education."
Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on its Tree City USA program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.