School Students Plant Trees in City Park in Honor of Florida Arbor Day

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The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department along with MacFarlane Elementary School students will plant three American Liberty elm trees in honor of Florida Arbor Day at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 18 at MacFarlane Park, located at 1700 N MacDill Ave.

Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that promotes the benefits of trees in the urban environment and encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April. Individual states conduct their own Arbor Day celebrations at various times of the year. Florida has celebrated Arbor Day since 1886 and has one of the first Arbor Day celebrations in the nation, on the third Friday in January.

The trees were donated by the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department through the Tree-mendous Tampa Program. The original program (Community Tree Program) was established in 1997 to enhance neighborhoods and help sustain Tampa’s urban forest and shade canopy. Tree-mendous Tampa Program encourages community involvement at both the time of planting and beyond, generating a sense of responsibility and environmental stewardship in citizens.

Tampa's urban forest plays a significant role in maintaining the vitality of urban life. The urban forest provides a wealth of benefits to neighborhoods and communities through the reduction of energy consumption; the removal of pollutants from the air and water; reduction in storm water flows; increased valuation of private property as well as providing recreational opportunities and aesthetic diversity.

Since 1981, Tampa has been nationally designated a Tree City USA® program, by the National Arbor Day Foundation. The National Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the U. S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes towns and cities across America that effectively manage their public tree resources and encourage the implementation of community tree management based on four Tree City USA® program, standards. To qualify for this honor, a city must have a tree ordinance in place, hold an Arbor Day event, and have a comprehensive urban forestry program.

The American Liberty elm grows quickly, averaging two to three feet of growth per year. These new American Liberty elms are the result of over 60 years of selection and research: and the only AMERICAN elm that has survived field tests for Dutch elm disease for 18 years, with less than 1% losses.