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For Release: Friday, April 26, 2019

DEC Announces Arbor Day Tree Planting Celebration in Capital Region

More than 600,000 Trees to be Planted across New York in 2019

Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners Celebrated, Seedlings Available from New York State Nursery

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the state's annual Arbor Day tree planting celebration event in Albany. The tree planting, hosted by DEC and the Office of General Services (OGS), included members of the State Arbor Day Committee and state and local officials. A London planetree was planted on the State Street side of East Capitol Park, near the corner of the Capitol Building to replace one that was lost during a storm.

"Trees are one of New York's most valuable resources, significantly impacting our environment, economy, and quality of life," said Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Trees help improve air quality, provide habitat for wildlife, reduce energy consumption, and beautify the landscape. With the continued support from Governor Cuomo's renewed record funding for the Environmental Protection Fund, New York will keep investing in planting trees and preserving our landscapes. Today's celebration of Arbor Day reminds us all to recognize the importance of trees and their impact on our everyday lives."

Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "Whether it is re-imagining Frontier Town as a place for families to connect with nature or encouraging people to participate in I Love My Park Day, Governor Cuomo has made a commitment to preserving nature and the trees that help improve the quality of our air. Each year, to celebrate Arbor Day, the grounds crew at OGS welcomes a new tree to our landscape in the parks that surround the Capitol as a symbol of all the benefits trees provide across New York State.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that promotes tree planting and tree care. Established by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April. Arbor Day was originally established to encourage farmers and homesteaders to plant trees to provide shade, shelter, food, fuel, and beauty to open areas. In New York State, the event is coordinated by the Arbor Day Committee, made up of representatives from Environmental Conservation, New York State Arborists, International Paper, and the Empire State Forest Products Association.

During the ceremony, Paul Bergwall of Honeoye Falls, Monroe County, was recognized for his donation of artwork to create the official statewide Arbor Day poster and presented with a framed copy. The Arbor Day celebration also recognized the artwork of the DEC children's poster contest winner, Julia Hou from Minnesauke Elementary School in Suffolk County. The forest health theme of this year's children's artwork is Habitats for Bats. Students from across the state participated in this year's poster contest.

For the fourth year in a row, this year's state budget provides a record $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), including more than $153 million for open space programs and $21 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. In addition, the EPF includes $500,000 for Resiliency Planting, which will support stream buffer plantings of New York native trees and shrubs from the state's Saratoga Tree Nursery and private nurseries across the state. This year's record funding will support urban forestry projects, storm water management, and municipal infrastructure to ensure clean drinking water for all New Yorkers.

The nursery program in New York State has been an integral part of forest stewardship on public and private lands since its inception in 1902. DEC's State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs was created in 1911 and still exists today. More than 1.6 billion seedlings have been produced by the state to enhance and protect the forest resource. Programs under DEC's Saratoga Tree Nursery will distribute a combined total of more than 600,000 plantings in 2019. This includes more than 160,000 seedlings provided for regional DEC plantings on state land, giveaways at the State Fair and other events, the public seedling sale, DEC's Trees for Tribs Program and School Seedlings.

SEEDLINGS AVAILABLE

One of the many ways DEC is encouraging the planting of trees around the state is by providing free seedlings to schools and school sponsored organizations for hands-on education programs. This program is managed under the DEC State Tree Nursery. When students plant tree seedlings, they can see for themselves the structure of trees and learn what trees need and how trees grow. Teachers can incorporate what trees need to survive and the benefits trees provide into science, math and other subjects of study. Students also become aware that they can play a role in protecting the environment through personal involvement in establishing a grove of trees.

The seedlings are two to three years old, about 4"-12" tall, and bare root, and are light enough for young children to carry and plant. Shipment is by UPS, beginning after April 14 and running through the third week in May. Teachers should select a shipping date at least three days prior to the planting date. Shipping takes place on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday only. For more information on the seedling program and how to order trees, visit DEC's website.

The State Tree Nursery also has seedlings for sale to the general public. The spring seedling sale is currently underway through mid-May. Visit DEC's website to learn information about the trees and shrubs for sale.

TREES FOR TRIBUTARIES

Since 2007, DEC's Trees for Tribs program has been working to reforest New York's tributaries, or small creeks and streams, which flow into and feed larger rivers and lakes. The goal of the program is to plant young trees and shrubs along stream corridors, also known as riparian areas, in order to prevent erosion, increase flood water retention, improve wildlife and stream habitat, and protect water quality. More than 8,700 volunteers have planted more than 101,400 trees and shrubs at 614 sites across New York State since the program was started.

For more information about celebrating Arbor Day, contact a local DEC office, visit DEC's website or call 518-402-9428.

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