Four Texas cities have been named first-time Tree City USA in 2020

Conroe, DeSoto, McAllen and Shady Shores have been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation

TEXAS – Texas cities, Conroe, DeSoto, McAllen and Shady Shores have been recognized by The Arbor Day Foundation, who’s in partnership with Texas A&M Forest Service, for their commitments to effective urban forest upkeep by naming them first-time Tree City USA cities.

Years-long dedication of local leaders, volunteers and partners, who worked on tree conservation, planning and beautification, is the reason for these designations.

“People understand that trees are vitally important to our cities,” said Gretchen Riley, Texas A&M Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Leader. “Trees provide economic, environmental, social and health benefits to the people and places where we need them most.”

Throughout the pandemic, Riley points out that the cities who earned this designation during the year 2020 had parks and treed green spaces as some of the few refuges of relaxation in Texas.

“Trees actually make us feel better and be better  it’s scientifically proven that trees are good for our mental and physical health,” said Riley. “Caring for trees and forests has never been more important because they also care for us. Healthy trees make healthy lives.”

Conroe continues to care for their trees since the mid-1980s, by celebrating Arbor Day every year. The city gives residents tens of thousands of trees to plant, with many sourced from the Jones State Forest.

“Root for Conroe, a local organization, helps organize Arbor Day each year for the city,” said Connor Murnane, Texas A&M Forester. “With the help of the Montgomery County Texas Master Gardeners, the city passes out 500 seedlings and 100 potted trees each year sourced through TFS, along with trees donated by Trees for Houston.”

The Tree City USA street sign will serve as recognition for the hard work and commitment of DeSoto’s municipal leadership, Park Development Corporation and many volunteers throughout the community, the

“One of our goals in DeSoto is to remain a premier city,” said Chris Glover, City of DeSoto Parks and Recreation Director. “To continue this effort, being environmentally responsible is high priority. Having a strategic plan to manage trees is beneficial with economic vitality, improved physically health and fosters an attractive environment. Tree City USA designation is a key component to establish a legacy that promotes community pride!”

All four cities that were named Tree City USA for the year 2020 met the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. They are now apart of the ranks of 91 other communities in Texas recognized as a Tree City USA, with the largest designated community being Houston, the smallest being Sunset Valley and the longest-running Fort Worth.

Arbor Day Foundation sponsors the Tree City USA program and partners with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. National Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday of April each year, but Texas celebrate Arbor Day on the first Friday in November because it’s optimal tree planting weather during Fall season for the state.

Visit https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/index.cfm for more information on the Tree City USA recognition program.