RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - On Friday, the North Carolina Forest Service announced the 83 recipients of the 2020 Tree City USA designation and the 12 college and university campuses that earned the Tree Campus Higher Education designation to recognize the communities committed to tree preservation.
The recipients of the 2020 designation include Bald head Island, Oak Island, and Southport in Brunswick County, and the City of Wilmington in New Hanover County.
“The urban forestry achievements of our communities are deserving of recognition because the hard work and sweat equity citizens put into planting and caring for trees will ensure our neighborhoods can become even cooler, cleaner and greener in the future,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
The City of Wilmington also earned a Tree City USA Growth Award, a recognition for a deeper level of commitment.
“In addition to our 83 Tree Cities, six communities earned Tree City USA Growth Awards. Achieving any of these significant recognitions reaffirms a community’s commitment to not just healthy urban tree canopy but also to tree preservation, increased property values, clean air and water, management of stormwater runoff, and an overall better quality of life for us and future generations,” said Jennifer Rall, an urban forestry specialist with the N.C. Forest Service.
The City of Wilmington Tree Initiative is committed to growing an urban forest in Wilmington and had a goal to plant 1739 trees before fall 2021. That goal has been surpassed. To date, 3066 trees have been planted since the beginning of 2020.
Bladen Community College was one of 12 higher education campuses in North Carolina awarded the Tree Campus Higher Education designation.
The Tree Campus Higher Education program supports effective tree management at two- and four-year accredited colleges and universities, encouraging best tree management practices on campuses and engaging the student population in the stewardship of campus tree resources.
Communities that commit to improving care of city trees critical for protecting urban tree canopy cover receive recognition by Tree City USA and Tree Campus Higher Education by meeting certain program requirements outlined on the NC Forest Service website.