Portsmouth Wins Tree City USA and Growth Awards from Arbor Day Foundation, Ceremony Apr 29

April 27, 2022

The Arbor Day Foundation has again named Portsmouth a Tree City USA and has awarded the Tree Growth Award to the City’s Department of Public Works Forestry crew. City Arborist Charles Baxter, and arborists Max Wiater and Steve Burns improved multiple aspects of the City’s forestry program in 2021 to achieve this award. With the City’s Parks and Greenery Division led by Corin Hallowell, Portsmouth has achieved Tree City USA recognition for over twenty years. The award depends on meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least two dollars per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. The Tree City USA Growth Award recognizes Portsmouth for demonstrating environmental improvement and a higher level of tree care.

Friday, April 29, 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. The Arbor Day Foundation is also celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. On Arbor Day, April 29 at 8 am, Assistant Mayor Joanna Kelley will read the City’s Arbor Day Proclamation at Peirce Island where a tree is being planted to complete a recent reforestation effort on the island by the Trees and Public Greenery Committee and City staff. The tree is one of 100 trees being planted around Portsmouth in accordance with budgeted allocations for the urban forest.

Portsmouth earns its long-standing reputation with the Arbor Day Foundation because there are over 10,000 trees in Portsmouth that provide natural and historic character, from the oldest, a horse chestnut planted in 1776 by William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence, to the cherry trees gifted by the Foreign Ministry and Portsmouth’s Sister City in Japan in honor of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. The City’s trees filter environmental pollutants, aid in storm water runoff and filtration, provide wildlife habitat, provide screening, increase biodiversity and improve the quality of life in the City. City Arborist Baxter works with a team of arborists to preserve the urban forest through tree preservation techniques, yearly tree plantings and inventory management to maintain a diverse urban forest. The City also maintains a nine-member Trees and Public Greenery Committee, currently chaired by Peter Loughlin and Dick Adams.

"On behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation, I congratulate Portsmouth on earning recognition as a  Tree City USA and receiving a Growth Award. We are so thrilled that Portsmouth takes pride in creating a community that places unique value on the planting and caring of trees,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation in announcing the award. "Over the last few years, it has become increasingly clear of the value and importance that trees hold for our future. Cities and towns across the globe are facing challenges when it comes to air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, and energy use. Portsmouth shows its residents and peers that they are forward-thinking and eager to combat these issues. By showing your dedication to urban forestry, you demonstrate a commitment to a brighter, greener future. The Arbor Day Foundation notes that communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, energy use, and protection from extreme heat and flooding. The Foundation recently launched the Time for Trees initiative to address these issues, with the goals of planting 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspiring five million tree planters by 2022.”

Go to more information about the City’s urban forest and its Tree Protection and Planting guidelines. 

New trees planted at Peirce Island