Hickory, North Carolina was named a 2017 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Hickory achieved Tree City USA 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.
"Tree City USA communities see the impact an urbanforest 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."
"This recognition is such an honor and shows the dedication and hard work of our staff and citizens of the City of Hickory," said Steve Miller, the City of Hickory's Assistant Public Services Director.
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 City of Hickory's Treasured Trees program was established for the purpose of identification and preservation of trees in the city. By creating citizen awareness of the importance of mature trees, the Treasured Trees Program promotes preservation of these significant trees from topping, damage and removal.
The Treasured Trees Committee consists of members of the Tree Board, a subgroup of the Community Appearance Commission, as well as the City Arborist. The Committee receives nominations for Treasured Trees, ensures that all criteria are met, and recognizes owners of Treasured Trees and reports activities to the Community Appearance Commission.
The City of Hickory has a tradition of promoting urban forestry and was first recognized as a Tree City USA during 2005. For the past eight years, the City of Hickory has celebrated Arbor Day and distributed saplings to the public at an event held on the SALT Block in conjunction with the "Growing a Green Future" Earth Day celebration.
"What a great day to celebrate Earth, Urban Forestry and agriculture, recycling, entrepreneurship and the many ways folks are creating and working to make our environment a much cleaner and healthier place to call home for future generations to come," said Jonathan Hogan, the City of Hickory's Landscape Services Manager.
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 the Tree City USA program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.
For further information about tree preservation, please contact Jonathan Hogan, Landscape Services Manager at (828) 323-7500.