The Tree City USA Program is nationally recognized with more than 3,400 participating communities. Communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least two dollars per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
Prescott Valley Parks & Recreation Director Brian Witty accepted the award on April 18 at a State Arbor Day celebration at the Arizona Capitol Museum.
“With a large inventory of healthy, attractive trees, we gain increased property value, better air quality, reduced energy costs, ability to minimize runoff and erosion, cooling and windbreak effects, and greatly enhanced quality of life,” Witty said.
Each year, the Parks & Recreation Department hosts a community Arbor Day celebration for local schoolchildren. This year, the children of the Montessori School planted several trees in George Andersen Park. Five hundred tree saplings are distributed each year to the children and to community members during the event. The Department also assists PV schools to educate about trees, and has a memorial program for community members who would like to honor someone by planting a tree in a park.
Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said Prescott Valley’s participation in the Tree City USA program began in the 1990s, when the Mayor and Town Council directed that trees be planted in medians and Mountain Valley Park in particular. The Urban Forest just below Mountain Valley Park is an example of those efforts. Tarkowski said to accomplish the plantings, the Town received grants from the Arizona Forestry Division. That association led to joining the Tree City USA organization. Years later, he is pleased with the results.
“There is no question that extensive tree planting has helped beautify the community in an area that in its natural state had few trees,” he said.
In continued efforts to help residents plant and maintain healthy trees, the Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a free Tree Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 3 at the Prescott Valley Public Library Auditorium, 7401 E. Civic Circle. Please register in advance at www.aztrees.org.