Sunday, March 18, 2001

Hamilton, Fairfield celebrate trees

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Arbor Day, celebrated nationally April 27, will take on new meaning in Hamilton and Fairfield this year.

        Hamilton is preparing an ordinance to protect its urban forest and, eventually, achieve the status of “Tree City U.S.A.”

        Fairfield will celebrate its sixth year as a Tree City.

[photo] Trees line Dayton Street in the historic section of Hamilton, bidding to be designated a Tree City U.S.A.
(Dick Swaim photo)
| ZOOM |
        “The best thing about having the Tree City U.S.A. designation is you acknowledge you're concerned about trees,” said Doris Bergen, a Miami University professor and chairwoman of Hamilton's Tree City Board.

        The board — with help from city departments — is preparing the proposed legislation for council. The idea is to help save the city's trees and educate the public about tree health.

        But before Hamilton can be named a Tree City, it must accomplish four things: Start a tree board, celebrate Arbor Day, provide money for tree care and enact a tree-preservation ordinance. The city needs only the ordinance. Ms. Bergen said she expects it to be considered by council late this spring.

        “We feel a lot of people here are interested in trees and maintaining them,” she said. “Public education will address the issue as a whole.”

        Other communities to become Tree Cities in recent years include Oxford, Mason and Waynesville.

        Arbor Day, founded in 1872, encourages the care and planting of trees.

        Again this year, Fairfield will be named a Tree City by the National Arbor Day Foundation, said James Bell, director of Fairfield's Department of Parks and Recreation.

        He said Fairfield received the award for demonstrating progress in its community forestry program in the areas of publications, continuing education for tree managers, and for tree-care workshops.

        Hamilton's Tree Board is working on a school curriculum project.

        “We're enthusiastic about students learning about trees,” Ms. Bergen said. “They make the atmosphere cooler and provide food for birds. Unfortunately, there are fewer trees in the city. People are cutting them down.”

        By next year, she hopes residents will be encouraged to maintain their trees and plant new ones.

        “When our tree canopy is lost,” Ms. Bergen said, “it's not easy to replace.”


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