The City of Wildwood will be celebrating Arbor Day with a special ceremony on Friday, April 29 at 10 a.m. at City Hall, 100 N. Main Street. Wildwood celebrates Arbor Day annually as part of its dedication to being a participant in Tree City USA. The Tree City USA program was established by the National Arbor Day Foundation in 1976 to celebrate trees and the many benefits they provide to our communities. The benefits of trees are numerous, including lowering temperatures in neighborhoods, creating cleaner air, increasing property values and increasing the health of residents.
The City of Wildwood has been a participant in Tree City USA for 32 years, demonstrating its commitment to preserving trees. In order to maintain its Tree City USA status, the city must meet four core standards.
1. City must maintain a tree board or department. Wildwood’s tree department is led by the city’s chief arborist, Public Works Director Jeremy Hockenbury, often referred to as the champion of all trees.
2. City must have a community tree ordinance. Wildwood recently updated its tree ordinance. The ordinance dictates when trees can be removed and provides for mitigation measures when doing so. In general, currently developed single family parcels are exempt from the tree ordinance; all other tree activity should be coordinated through the city’s Development Services Department.
3. City must spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry. Wildwood expends funds to support urban forestry through planting, trimming, irrigating and purchasing equipment.
4. Celebrating Arbor Day. Please join us this year as we celebrate Arbor Day. Included in this year’s Arbor Day celebration will be a performance by Wildwood Elementary School students, planting of trees in the park behind city hall and gifts of biodegradable herb seed packets and bookmarks.
Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Sumter News Sun.