Howard County was honored by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA community for the twenty-second consecutive year.
There are 3,400 Tree Cities across the country, according to the Arbor Day Foundation, which presents communities with the designation in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.
To qualify as a Tree City USA, communities must have a tree board or department, tree care ordinance, forestry program with annual expenditures of almost $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance with proclamation.
Howard County has a Forestry Board. It also has a Forest Conservation Manual, including reforestation requirements built into development plans. For example, in Elkridge stipulated that a percentage of trees uprooted will be planted at another school nearby.
“Planting a tree is such a simple task but one that leads to a host of benefit, from beautifying a property to improving air quality and reducing stormwater runoff—not to mention providing wildlife habitat and shade to cool buildings,” said County Executive Ken Ulman in a written statement.
In 2011, the county planted 5,141 trees, among them in Jessup. Schools and volunteers planted many others; over the last six years, Howard County has planted more than 50,000 trees, according to a statement from its Office of Public Information.
“We all benefit when communities like Howard County place a high priority on one of our nation’s most beautiful resources," said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, in a statement.
Arbor Day is Friday, April 27, and Howard County observed the event during on April 14 by planting a tree.