Pinellas County has earned the Arbor Day Foundation’s designation of Tree City USA for two of the last three years for its commitment to effective urban forest management. The County received the designation in 2018 and 2016.
Although 113 communities in Florida received the designation, Pinellas is one of only three counties so honored. Eleven Pinellas County municipalities were recognized: Belleair, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Largo, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, Seminole, St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs.
“This recognition demonstrates the County’s commitment to the protection of our natural resources, as it directly impacts our residents’ quality of life,” said Pinellas County Public Works Director Addie Javed.
The Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters sponsor the Tree City USA program. To qualify for the designation, a community must meet four standards:
• Have a tree board or department responsible for trees on city/county-owned property.
• Have a tree care ordinance that forms the foundation of a tree care program.
• Have a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita.
• Have an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
Pinellas County will recognize Arbor Day on April 26 with a proclamation at a County Commission meeting and the annual Lakes & Ponds Education and Arbor Day Celebration at Pinellas County Extension on April 27.
“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. “Recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether through volunteer engagement or public education.”