Photo: The City of Hernando was awarded a Tree City USA recognition for the ninth straight year with its 2020 recognition. From left are Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson, Mississippi Forestry Commission Outreach Coordinator Tymple Harrison, and Hernando Community Development Director Gia Matheny. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)
The City of Hernando continues to work toward being the “greenest city around.” Thursday morning, the city was again recognized as a Tree City USA for the ninth straight year. This year’s recognition was for the year 2020 as the application process for the current year is in December of the year.
“The Tree City USA program is a recognition program for cities that are interested in managing their tree canopy and the trees in their city,” said Mississippi Forestry Commission outreach coordinator Tymple Harrison. ‘It helps promote urban forest management and develop a program to manage and maintain those trees and the benefits that we get from them.”
Tree City USA was started in 1976 by the Arbor Day Foundation and is the foundation’s oldest program. The founder hoped the initiative would inspire change on a nationwide level.
The program today includes more than 3,600 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and in Puerto Rico.
“I think the recognition is just a way of confirming that we’re doing what the citizens want,” said Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson. “Our citizens value the tree canopy in Hernando and I think we need to always do what the citizens want us to do. This is one piece of doing that. It’s just making sure that we have processes and policies in place that help protect the tree canopy.”
Cities must meet four requirements for Tree City USA recognition. They are:
- Maintaining a tree board or department
- Having a community tree ordinance
- Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry
- Celebrating Arbor Day
Benefits of promoting an urban tree canopy include:
- Trees help absorb the sounds of traffic in urban areas by 40%.
- Neighborhoods with trees are seven to nine degrees cooler than those without.
- Trees reduce energy costs up to 25% by shading buildings and protecting them from winter winds.
- Homes with trees have higher property values.
- Green space plays a major role in improving mental and physical health.
- Planting and maintaining trees absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mitigating the effects of climate change.
- Publicly demonstrating your commitment to the environment is a great way to build pride among residents, as well as position your community as an attractive place to live. To help you share your award, we send signs, flags, press releases, and other materials after your acceptance.
One other DeSoto County community is recognized as a Tree City USA. Horn Lake has had the recognition for 18 years.
More information on the program is found at the Tree City USA website.