For the 16th year in a row, Bellevue has been named a Tree City USA community by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The "City in a Park" keeps earning the honor by making a special effort to preserve its thousands of street trees and manage its urban forests.
Bellevue continues to meet the Foundation's four qualifications: a comprehensive community forestry program, a Parks' policy advisory board, an established tree care ordinance and an annual community Arbor Day observance.
The city also received a prestigious Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating progress in its community forestry program in everything from education and public relations to interpretive programs to partnerships.
Bellevue's 2007 Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration is set for April 21, with volunteer park enhancement projects throughout Bellevue. Residents can register for the event by calling 425-452-7225.
Caring for street trees and urban forests
Bellevue is committed to open space acquisition, sensitive area protection, forest management and long-range planning. The city's 2,893-acre park system includes forested greenbelts, wetlands, agricultural land and streetscapes. These areas include more than 9,000 street trees and 30,000 trees in parks and greenbelts, as well as more than 65 miles of trails.
To preserve its urban forests and parks, the city has developed a comprehensive natural resource management program that includes design, maintenance, enforcement and public outreach.
Bellevue cares for its street trees and manages its urban forests to provide wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, improved air and water quality and increased forest health.
Arbor Day 2006 a major event
"Trees in our cities and towns help clean the air, conserve soil and water, moderate temperature and bring nature into our daily lives," said John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Tree City USA designation recognizes the work of elected officials, staff and citizens who plant and care for the community forest."
At Bellevue's 2006 Arbor Day celebration, more than 300 volunteers, including representatives from more than a dozen community organizations, participated in enhancement projects throughout the city, followed by a community celebration at Lewis Creek Park.
The volunteers tackled several large restoration projects, planting shrubs and trees at Lewis Creek, the Bellevue Golf Course, the Lake Hills Greenbelt and Mercer Slough. In addition, some community associations sponsored neighborhood plantings. In all, over 2,500 trees and shrubs were planted through these projects.
"Trees are a vital component of the infrastructure in our cities and towns, and provide environmental and economic benefits," Rosenow said. "A community and its citizens that recognize these benefits and provide needed care for its trees deserve recognition and thanks."
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
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