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Williamsport receives Tree City USA designation

April 14, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Williamsport's efforts to be a greener town have netted it a "Tree City USA" designation, officials said at a Williamsport Town Council meeting this week.

The town received a $15,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and used the money to plant an additional 175 trees in town, Maryland Department of Natural Resources spokesman Becky Wilson said in a presentation Monday night before council members and Mayor James G. McCleaf II.

Pruning tools were also purchased for town employees, and the workers were given some training on how to properly trim trees, McCleaf said.

Because of the efforts to plant more trees in town, town officials applied to the National Arbor Day Foundation for a Tree City USA designation.

Among the requirements the town needed to fulfill for the designation was having laws that protect trees, a tree protection board and a town celebration of National Arbor Day,  Wilson said.

Williamsport received the Tree City USA designation and joined 36 other communities in the state that have the classification, Wilson said.

Wilson presented the town with two Tree City USA street signs to erect in town, a Tree City USA flag and a plaque.

Wilson spoke positively about the town's tree-planting efforts and distributed a report about the town's percentage of "tree canopy," or the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground.

Tree canopy provides benefits to communities such as reducing city temperatures and air pollution, enhancing property values, saving energy and providing wildlife habitat, according to Wilson's report.

An analysis of Williamsport showed that more than 175 acres in town were covered by tree canopy, representing more than 28 percent of land in the town.

A chart comparing Williamsport with some other towns in the state showed Frederick, Md., had a 14 percent tree canopy, while Greenbelt, Md., had a 62 percent canopy.

Council members Monday also decided to apply for another grant to plant trees.

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