Governor Peter Shumlin marked Arbor Day today with a message of appreciation that Vermont is Forest Strong.
"Most of us will never forget the historic floods of 2011 and the damage they delivered to our homes and businesses, public infrastructure and our natural resources," the Governor said. "Our forests, from the top of Mount Mansfield to the heart of communities, helped intercept the rainfall and slow the runoff. Without them, the intense flooding would have been worse.'
At a Statehouse ceremony, the Governor recognized Vermont's Tree City USA communities, Tree Line USA Utilities and Tree Campus Universities. He congratulated student artists in the Growing Works of Art contest that focused on floodplain trees. Gov. Shumlin kept with tradition as he helped plant the annual Arbor Day tree on the State House lawn. The event concluded with Miss Vermont, Katie Levasseur, leading a StoryWalk on the Statehouse grounds of the book The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
In 2011, seven Vermont communities qualified for the Tree City USA program, which recognizes communities of all sizes which proactively care for and manage their public trees. Burlington, Enosburg Falls, Hartford, Montpelier, Peacham, Rutland and South Burlington were honored. Central Vermont Public Service and Vermont Electric Power Company received the Tree Line USA designation for their work promoting best practices in utility arboriculture and public education. Middlebury College received the Tree Campus USA designation for effectively engaging their students on campus and in the community in managing their trees.
The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation sponsors the annual youth Arbor Day Growing Works of Art contest. The five winners recognized had to identify a tree species that grows in Vermont's floodplain forests, draw it, and provide five facts about the tree. The winners' work was made into a set of tree trading cards that will be collected and enjoyed by students across the state.
The students honored were Alexandra Forbes of Stowe Elementary School, Elena Brotz of Burlington, Isaiah Fredyma of Union Street School, Emily Lafreniere of Braintree Elementary School, and Jeremy Brotz of Burlington.
"Arbor Day is a holiday that celebrates our future. As trees grow, the services they provide will continue to grow. Our efforts today will continue to improve our resiliency and pay us back for many years to come," said the Governor.
Share your Arbor Day stories or passion for trees throughout the year with other Vermonters on the Vermont Grove, an online community that connects tree and nature enthusiasts, at http://thegrove.americangrove.org/group/vermontgrove. Be sure to join the Vermont group once on the Grove.