Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $2.2 million in grants for tree planting and community forestry projects across New York to celebrate Arbor Day. In honor of National Arbor Day, Governor Cuomo proclaimed Arbor Day in New York State along with the joint grant announcement from the State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, and the Office of General Services. The 2018 New York State Arbor Day Proclamation can be viewed here.
The announcement took place at a tree planting event with the State Arbor Day Committee and state and local officials at West Capitol Park in Albany. DEC also announced its 10th year in achieving Sustainable Forest Management Status for Forest Certification and the 2018 winners of the state Arbor Day poster contest at the event.
"Arbor Day is a celebration of nature and a reminder of the vital role trees play in our communities and in our ecosystem," Governor Cuomo said. "Planting trees is something we can all do in the fight against climate change to help build a cleaner and greener New York for future generations to enjoy."
At the tree planting, tree "price tags" adorned park trees to demonstrate the benefits of these trees. For example, one tree in the park provides, on average, $1,500 in benefits over a 15-year period. Northern Nurseries in Schenectady donated this year's ceremonial tree, a greenspire linden tree.
"Trees help improve air quality, reduce energy consumption, beautify New York's urban areas and are essential to our economic health," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Today's tree planting ceremony and DEC Forest Management recognition demonstrate our ongoing commitment to ensure the sustainable management of our forest resource to maintain their health, productivity, and diversity. The grants announced today will continue our investment in promoting forest resiliency and the countless economic and environmental benefit they provide."
DEC's urban forestry grants complement ongoing initiatives to address invasive species, climate change, environmental degradation, environmental justice, and urban sprawl. Funded by the State's Environmental Protection Fund, the $2.2 million grants will support tree planting, maintenance, tree inventory, education programs, and community forestry management plans. Grants are available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts, soil and water conservation districts, community colleges, not-for-profit organizations, and Indian nations or tribes. Awards range from $11,000 to $75,000, depending on municipal population. Tree inventories and community forestry management plans have no match. Tree planting, maintenance, and education program projects have a 25 percent match. Over the last six years, the state has funded nearly $7 million in grants to support projects with a total value of more than $12 million.
DEC foresters are available to provide applicants with technical assistance. DEC will review completed grant applications and select recipients based on established rating criteria, including cost-effectiveness, projected benefits, use of recommended standards in implementation, community outreach and education. For the RFA, Instructions and application, please visit the Grants Gateway Portal here.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York is home to millions of acres of trees and forested lands. Trees impact our environment, clean our air, provide recreation, encourage tourism, and improve our economy. These grants are an important part of the effort to keep New York green and growing."
OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "Helping to remind New Yorkers of the important role trees play in providing shelter, food, shade and beauty, I am proud of the Office of General Services' participation in the annual tradition of planting a tree near the State Capitol. The greenspire linden we are planting is a wonderful addition to the Empire State Plaza landscape, and I want to commend everyone who is participating in today's Arbor Day event."
New York Maintains Sustainable Forest Management Status
As part of the Arbor Day celebration, DEC announced that is has achieved 10 consecutive years of dual forest certification for more than 780,000 acres of State Forests under the Sustainable Forestry Initiativeand Forest Stewardship Council forest management standards. Forest products derived from wood harvested off State Forests may have certified labeling which assures consumers that the raw material was harvested from forests responsibly managed for water quality protection, recreation, wildlife habitat, timber and mineral resources. Look for FSC and SFI labels on lumber and paper products to ensure you are purchasing sustainably sourced goods.
DEC is part of a growing number of public, industrial and private forest land owners throughout the United States and the world whose forests are certified as sustainably managed. Additional information on the FSC and SFI standards can be found at https://us.fsc.org/en-us and http://www.sfiprogram.org/.
Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Announced
Aaron Cohen of Roslyn, Nassau County, New York was recognized for donating his original artwork to create the official Arbor Day poster. A framed copy of the poster was presented to him at the event.
The Arbor Day celebration also recognized the artwork of the children's poster contest winner, Sydney Starkey of Pocantico Hills School, Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York. The forest health theme of this year's children's artwork is "Trees for Bees." Students from across the state participated in this year's poster contest.
Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that promotes tree planting and tree care and highlights the importance of trees to our environment, economy, and quality of life. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. It was established to encourage farmers and homesteaders to plant trees that would provide shade, shelter, food, fuel and beauty to open areas.
Arbor Day in New York State is coordinated by the Arbor Day Committee, made up of representatives from the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Environmental Conservation, New York State Arborists, International Paper and the Empire State Forest Products Association.
Tree City USA
Tree City USA is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage their public trees. This program is housed within the Arbor Day Foundation and is administered in NY by DEC. Tree City USA status is achieved by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day. New York has 128 Tree Cities.
For the 16th year, the City of Albany was recognized today as a Tree City USA.
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy said, "New York is blessed to have a vast reserve of forest resources. Trees contribute to the natural beauty of our urban neighborhoods and the rural countryside. These new grants to plant trees around New York will help us further combat climate change, improve air quality and enhance New York's natural beauty."
Assemblyman John McDonald said, "I'm proud to join Governor Cuomo, DEC, OGS, Mayor Sheehan an and all the organizations working to protect our forests in the state in celebrating Arbor Day. Trees are vital resources and through our continued investments in the environmental protection fund, we are making the state's forests healthier and more resilient."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "Arbor Day is a day to recognize the countless ways trees enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify our neighborhoods. The City of Albany has been designated as Tree City U.S.A. for 16 years. With over 6,000 street trees and over 1,600 trees within city parks, 650 in Washington Park alone, trees are a true source of pride and make our Capital City a special place to live."
For more information about celebrating Arbor Day, contact a local DEC office, visit
http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5274.html on DEC's website or call 518-402-9428.