Williamstown wins Tree City USA award

WILLIAMSTOWN – The City of Williamstown will celebrate being named Tree City USA for the 30th year with a ceremony next week, officials said.

“I received a letter from the National Arbor Day Foundation congratulating us for 30 years as Tree City USA,” said Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford. “Williamstown is the longest-running Tree City USA in the state.”

The event will begin around 2 p.m. April 25 in Tomlinson Park, according to City Councilwoman Barbara Lewis.

“It will be a big celebration,” Lewis, chairwoman of the city’s tree committee, said.

Along with city officials, the program is expected to include members of the West Virginia Division of Forestry and fifth-grade students from Williamstown Elementary School. The organization, which sponsors the Tree City USA program, has sent more than 60 small trees for the students.

“The National Arbor Day Foundation has given us enough seedlings that each student will get a tree to take home and plant,” Lewis said.

The city would like community members to join in the festivities and has invited everyone to attend the celebration. Juice and cookies will be provided in the city building following the event.

Also during the event, the city will receive the items to designate it as a Tree City USA for the 30th year, which allows it to continue to hold the title as longest-running Tree City USA in West Virginia.

Thanks to the former and current members of the tree committee, the City of Williamstown has enjoyed the distinction of being a Tree City USA for so long, Lewis said.

Ford has said it takes a lot of work for the city and tree committee to keep up with the trees in order to maintain the recognition.

The four standards to qualify as a Tree City USA are: an ordinance describing the care of trees on public property; a tree board dedicated to overseeing tree care; the city must spend at least $2 per capita on tree care for trees on public property; and scheduling an Arbor Day observance in the city each year.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service. The NADF believes urban forests help clean the air, conserve soil and water, moderate temperature and bring nature into the daily lives of residents.