With a nickname like “City of Palms,” it’s no surprise that Fort Myers is a perennial recipient of the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Tree City USA” distinction. For the 25th consecutive year, the Foundation has honored Fort Myers for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Fort Myers achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: A tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an Arbor Day observance and proclamation, and an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita.
“Fort Myers believes in the value of trees as part of the fabric of a community,” explains Richard Moulton, Interim Director of Public Works at the City of Fort Myers. “Last year, the City began establishing a second generation oak hammock at Shady Oaks Park, which was opened 46 years ago. This will ensure that the next generation of citizens will enjoy the shade of oak trees at this community facility.”
Fort Myers was the first city in Southwest Florida to become a Tree City USA, and has held the distinction for a quarter century. The City grows many of the trees currently being installed at city properties.
“Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest 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.”
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.
More information on the Tree City USA program is available at www.arborday.org.