Today is Arbor Day in Maryland

April 3, 2013

Governor Martin O’Malley kicked off spring planting season by proclaiming today, April 3, Arbor Day in Maryland, and encouraging every Marylander to celebrate by planting and registering a tree this spring.

“Trees protect our water quality, clean our air, provide wildlife habitat and beautify our communities,” said Governor O’Malley, who received the Arbor Day Foundation’s first ever, national Vision Award last year. “In celebration of Arbor Day, we encourage every Marylander to get outside and plant a tree that will help us keep Maryland cleaner and greener for generations to come.”

Staff from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working with schools, civic groups and local governments on a series of plantings this month.

DNR will provide native seedlings and help with plantings at Friends of Waterford Park in Frederick, Cape St. Claire Elementary School in Annapolis, Four Rivers District Boy Scout Troop at Kinder Farm Park in Millersville, Folger McKinsey Elementary School in Severna Park and Notre Dame Prep in Towson.

DNR is also working with students to plant trees through the Stream Restoration Challenge, a grant program established to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality and create service learning and environmental literacy activities for youth. Among the 10 Challenge projects taking place this month, more than 300 students from Kent County Public Schools, along with staff from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, will plant nearly 4,000 trees at the Sassafras Natural Resource Management Area.

Since 2009, citizens have planted and registered 102,063 trees in areas all across the State under the Marylanders Plant Trees program. Once citizens register their tree online, they can observe its environmental benefits through interactive maps and charts. To keep the program thriving in 2013, DNR is continuing to provide $25 coupons toward the purchase of native trees.

Trees protect air and water quality, reduce energy costs, increase property value, and beautify neighborhoods and highways. One large tree can eliminate 5,000 gallons of polluted runoff each year, and well placed trees can help reduce energy costs by 15 to 35 percent. DNR reminds citizens that it is important to keep planting because the more tree cover, the greater the exponential impact.

Governor O’Malley launched the Marylanders Plant Trees program as part of his Smart, Green & Growing initiative in spring 2009 while also establishing, and now reaching, the goal of planting and registering 100,000 new trees under the program by 2013. In the spring of 2011, the State also met its three-year goal of planting 1 million trees on public lands through the Forest Brigade, which utilizes inmate labor in a partnership among the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the State Highway Administration and DNR.

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