Montrose, CO – The City of Montrose’s Parks Division recently earned an Arbor Day Foundation Growth Award for its continued commitment for Montrose to be labeled a "Tree City USA," and will celebrate the award in tandem with Arbor Day and Montrose Earth Week festivities planned for this Saturday.
The city’s Arbor Day event will be held Saturday, April 21, at 10 a.m. at Buckley Park, at located at 300 North Nevada Ave. A tree planting ceremony, tree climbing, and a tree raffle for a live, 4-inch Colorado Blue Spruce tree, are scheduled. The Montrose Regional Library's Book Mobile will also be on hand to promote tree-themed books.
Montrose has garnered the Tree City USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for the past 28 years. Last year Parks and Special Projects Superintendent John Malloy made it a goal to achieve the Growth Award for the first time.
"This can happen in several ways. Increasing our education, spending, training, inventory or maintenance of city trees, or growing our Arbor Day events are just some of the ways we can earn the growth award," Malloy said.
Malloy said the city earned the award in particular for its Green Waste Recycling program, habitat improvement project in Buckley Park, increased tree care at Chipeta Lake, and trimming of hazard trees within the city.
Lastly, parks staff were trained by Colorado State University Extension agents in proper tree care as part of an improved Parks Staff Training Program initiated in 2017.City Staff Spent Decades Growing Tree Program
What started out years ago with just Malloy and a few volunteers has grown into a major city parks department program.
To take this educational effort even further, Malloy said the parks division will improve areas like an updated tree inventory, more rigorous tree trimmer certification program, and improved tree education materials for the public to use.
"Recognition of this day is not just for planting of trees, but also for educating the public on the importance of trees," Malloy said. "In this arid region trees will rarely grow unattended. And we need to be proactive in keeping our urban forest diverse, thriving and growing. The City forest is declining. The large, old cottonwoods in the Parks and on the city streets are reaching their mature ages. Drought, disease and development have removed many of these relative old giants."
In order to earn the Tree City status a Montrose must have created a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, and Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
This year the City of Montrose's Tree Board is aiming for another growth award. A revised tree list of city's "Right of Way" trees has been completed and includes approximately 7,000 right of way trees.
This list helps guide the replacement of city trees with appropriate species that will withstand drought as well as provide a large canopy to shade homes and clean the air. The Tree Board is also working on developing an informational guide for citizens to help inform them on tree planting techniques as well as appropriate landscaping shrubs and plants adapted to our dry region.
"In 2018 the parks department will be planting over 30 mature trees. And we hope to grow this number each year, but we can’t do this without continued support from the Council, City Staff, and the Community," Malloy said.
Malloy said city residents should use tree professionals, licensed with the city, to prevent poor pruning practices, like topping of trees, which has been an outdated practice for over 25 years.History of Arbor Day
Arbor Day was first originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, by J. Sterling Morton on April 10, 1872. An estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska as a result. This was later followed by an Arbor Day proclamation issued by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt on April 15, 1907. Since then celebrations across the country have included tree planting, appreciation and education events.
For more information about Montrose Earth Week visit: CityOfMontrose.org/EarthWeek