FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — The City of Frederick is continuing a forty-year streak with its 2020 Tree City USA recognition.
Frederick is the longest-running recipient of the designation in the state of Maryland awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation. According to the Tree City USA website, the program began in 1976 as a framework for communities to manage and expand public trees.
City arborist John Dunk explains that over the last twenty years, the number of street trees in Frederick has increased by 300 percent and continues to grow. Currently, the city maintains about 11,500 street trees.
“As the new city arborist, I am excited to continue and expand this legacy,” Dunk said in a press release. “I look forward to celebrating with everyone at the next Arbor Day celebration in 2021!”
Officials add that a lush tree canopy not only provides a great visual for the area but also helps to reduce air pollution and increase water quality.
“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers, and committed citizens in communities like Frederick make smart investments in urban forests,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation in a statement. “Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social, and environmental benefits.”
To receive recognition, communities must meet four standards: create 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.
Moving forward, the city plans to add over 1,000 trees in the next five years.
“Our tree canopy assessment show we have about 20 percent canopy coverage and we’re working towards 40 percent [by] 2030,” explained City of Frederick Sustainability Manager, Jenny Willoughby. “So we’re trying to get as many tree planted as possible, but also maintaining larger trees if we can.”