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For Release: Friday, April 26, 2013

Arbor Day Celebrated in New York State

New Yorkers Encouraged to Recognize Numerous Contributions Provided by Trees throughout the State

Student and State Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Announced

The State Arbor Day Committee, made up of several state agencies and industry associations, joined state and local officials to celebrate Arbor Day at the north end of the Empire State Plaza, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today as part of DEC's week-long celebration of Earth Day. This annual celebration encourages New Yorkers of all ages to recognize the importance of trees and the impact they make in our everyday lives.

"Arbor Day is celebrated nationally as a time to remind us of the valuable role trees play in our daily lives and in our environment, said Commissioner Martens. "Trees help improve air quality, reduce energy consumption and beautify the landscape in New York's urban areas. As the warmer weather approaches and we're outside appreciating the benefits of trees, I encourage everyone to take a moment and consider how each of us can help preserve and protect our precious natural resources."

"New York's trees and forests are renowned for their beauty and have unbelievable potential to boost tourism and create jobs across this state," State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said. "I'm pleased to join my partners in industry and government to commemorate Arbor Day and encourage all New Yorkers to celebrate by planting a tree, visiting a state park or enjoying the abundance of recreational opportunities that trees provide for New Yorkers."

The forest industry contributes greatly to the economy in nearly every corner of the state, with valuable hardwood and softwood trees providing the raw material for the sizeable forest products manufacturing sector. The sector produces a wide variety of recognizable forest products including construction and furniture grade lumber, specialty papers, pellets for heating, and a wide array of other products made of wood including furniture, baseball bats, and interior furnishings such as flooring and paneling. Overall, the total value of shipments of wood products annually is approximately $9 billion dollars. Total employment is nearly 50,000, receiving a payroll of nearly $2 billion dollars.

The north end of the Empire State Plaza, located in the center of downtown Albany, served as the backdrop for this celebration as it is filled with northern red oak trees and serves as a popular lunchtime destination for state employees and visitors to Albany. The tree was donated by Northern Nurseries in Schenectady to the New York State Arbor Day Committee. Tree "price tags" adorned the trees to demonstrate the benefits of trees represented in dollar amounts. One tree in the park gives back, on average, $1,500 in benefits over a 15-year period.

The Arbor Day celebration also recognized Tari Civerolo, a fifth grader from Castleton Elementary School in Castleton, Rensselaer County, who won DEC's 2013 Arbor Day Poster Contest depicting the theme "Trees are Terrific." Her winning artwork was reproduced into posters and bookmarks to be distributed across the state.

"By participating in the annual Arbor Day poster contest, students learn about trees and how they promote a healthy, balanced ecosystem," said Commissioner Martens."

The New York Nursery and Landscape Association presented its Environmental Beautification Awards, which highlight excellence and quality in landscape design and construction, as well as foster goodwill through friendly competition.

"You can't overestimate the importance of trees," said New York Nursery and Landscape Association President Dale Tuttle, Lifetime CNLP. "Especially here in the northeast, trees define a region, and they are essential to a beautiful landscape. Commercially, New York thrives on trees. Our tourism industry is reliant on fall foliage, and, of course, the green industry across the state is dependent on trees and tree products. Trees support life in New York State, and it's up to us to preserve them and promote their importance."

The Arbor Day celebration concluded with the presentation of the 2013 Arbor Day poster. This year's poster is a photograph taken by Josh Clague, from Nassau, Rensselaer County and produced on paper donated from International Paper's Ticonderoga mill from trees harvested in working Adirondack forests managed in accordance with the principles of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care and highlights the importance of trees to our environment, our economy and our quality of life. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

Arbor Day in New York State is coordinated by the Arbor Day Committee, made up of representatives from the New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets and Environmental Conservation, New York State Nursery Landscape Association, New York State Arborists, International Paper and the Empire State Forest Products Association.

For more information about celebrating Arbor Day, contact your local DEC office or visit DEC's website or call 518-402-9425.

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