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For Release: Friday, April 10, 2020

DEC Announces Arbor Day Artwork Contest Winner

Photograph by Paul Bergwall of Honeoye Falls Selected for 2020 State Arbor Day Poster

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that Paul Bergwall of Honeoye Falls, Monroe County, is the winner of DEC's annual Arbor Day Artwork Contest.

"While Arbor Day is an annual opportunity to recognize the value of trees, it also provides a reminder of what we can do to protect them," said Commissioner Seggos. "Utilizing proper tree planting techniques and remembering the importance of care throughout a tree's life are critical steps to protect New York's urban and community forests for years to come. Congratulations to Paul Bergwall for taking this year's honor in truly capturing the countless benefits and beauty that trees provide every day."

Large tree with the sun peeking through its bracnches

The annual contest accepts artwork and photography submissions of trees in New York State. The winning poster design is featured on the State's official Arbor Day poster and is selected by a committee comprised of representatives from DEC, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, International Paper, Empire State Forest Products Association, and the New York State Arborist Association. Bergwall's design stood out among this year's 240 submissions for successfully capturing the charismatic and inspirational qualities of trees.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance held on the last Friday of April each year. Originally established in 1872 to encourage farmers and homesteaders to plant trees for shade, fuel, and beauty in open areas, today it is an opportunity to celebrate the vital role of trees in our lives.

While many traditional public Arbor Day ceremonies around the state have been postponed, there are many ways communities and families can celebrate while practicing social distancing. Visit DEC's website for ideas about how to safely and responsibly celebrate Arbor Day 2020 on April 24.

The annual State Arbor Day Poster contest is announced each September and runs through December. Those interested in participating in the 2021 contest should visit DEC's website for more information.

The recently enacted 2020-21 State Budget includes several initiatives to continue improving, protecting, and promoting healthy trees and forests, including the $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Environmental Bond Act and $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), among other investments. The EPF includes $500,000 proposed in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Executive Budget for a new Community Forest grant program. Keeping forests as forestland is a key component of meeting the State's carbon-reduction targets in the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) (leaves DEC's website). Community Forests grants will also provide municipalities or groups the ability to preserve open space while providing for local public recreation and sustainable forestry that ensures continued carbon sequestration and outdoor educational opportunities.

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