The City of Valdosta was honored on Feb. 19 by the Georgia Department of Forestry as a Tree City USA community for its 29th consecutive year. The award was given at the annual Arbor Day event, sponsored by the Valdosta Tree Commission. The event was held on the front lawn of the Health Sciences and Business Administration building of Valdosta State University, which was also honored at the ceremony as a Tree Campus USA for its third consecutive year.
Valdosta received the Tree City USA award for meeting four standards including designating a Tree Commission, passing a tree care ordinance, establishing a comprehensive community forestry program, and proclaiming and hosting an Arbor Day celebration. This award further demonstrates the city’s management in the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees in Valdosta’s urban forest.
Of the 536 cities in the state of Georgia, only 138 cities have been designated Tree City USA communities—and only eight of the 138 cities have held the honor 29 consecutive years or more. Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson, who accepted the Tree City USA designation on behalf of the city of Valdosta, said the designation is a significant accomplishment that shows the long-term commitment that Valdosta has made to the investment of its trees and natural resources.
Hanson thanked the Valdosta Tree Commission, the city’s Engineering Department and its certified arborist for preserving and maintaining a sustainable and green future of which citizens can be proud. He also cited examples of recent projects—such as Gornto Extension and the Chamber Centennial Tree Project—which are beautiful thoroughfares with appropriate trees and landscaping that will continue to be admired for 20 years or more.
“I’m proud of our long-standing commitment to the planting of trees, to the maintenance of our urban forest and to basically be committed to environmental stewardship, so that in the future our city will be green and sustainable and attractive for generations to come,” said Hanson. “That only happens through commitment, partnership and relationships.”
On behalf of the mayor, who could not be in attendance at the event, Hanson presented the Valdosta Tree Commission with a proclamation in support of its beautification programs and continued commitment to our environment.
The Tree City USA program was established by the Arbor Day Foundation, along with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, to improve community forestry. There are more than 3,400 Tree City USA communities across the nation, representing 135 million citizens.
The Engineering Department staff hosted an event at W.G. Nunn earlier in the day, in which the elementary school students planted a tree to add to their campus canopy. On Friday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m., Valwood students will participate in planting a tree in front of the Valdosta Municipal Court. For more information about tree planting activities in the city, contact the Engineering Department at (229) 259-3530.