NORMAN — Representatives of the city of Norman and the Norman Tree Board received special recognition for tree care in Oklahoma City during the statewide Arbor Day celebration. Norman has participated in the Tree City USA program for 12 years.
Norman is among 21 cities, two Air Force bases and five public utilities that have been designated as a Tree City USA community or Tree Line USA utility in Oklahoma this year. In addition, seven college and university campuses have attained Tree Campus USA status.
To earn Tree City USA status from the Arbor Day Foundation, a city must establish a tree board, create a tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita annually on a community forestry program and celebrate Arbor Day with an official proclamation and citywide observance.
Norman planted and maintained trees and distributed educational material to receive Tree City USA recognition. In addition, the city amended the landscape ordinance to reflect tree species that are suitable to the cultural characteristics of the local climate and soils.
“There are so many benefits that trees provide, but most are behind the scenes, invisible to all but the most discerning,” said Greg Huffman, chairman of the Norman Tree Board. “If we could truly see their value, our ecological priorities would change dramatically.”
Featured speakers at the event were Urban Forestry Coordinator Mark Bays with Oklahoma Forestry Services, Ed Macie, Regional Urban Forestry program manager with the USDA Forest Service in Atlanta, Ga., and Jared Carlson, development manager, related-business ventures with the Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska City, Neb.
Macie urged Oklahoma’s communities to take better care of hard-working urban trees to reap environmental benefits. Carlson explained the energy-savings potential of properly selected trees.
“I could not imagine living in a world without trees,” Bays said. “It’s inspirational to see so many Oklahomans working together to insure this valuable resource will always be with us.”