Portsmouth Wins Tree City & Tree Growth Awards from Arbor Day Foundation

April 20, 2020

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 Parks and Greenery Division, led by Corin Hallowell, Parks and Greenery Foreman and Charles Baxter, Arborist Foreman. Portsmouth has achieved Tree City USA recognition for over twenty years by 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 Department will make a presentation on the award and the annual Trees & Greenery Committee Report to a future City Council meeting.

This year, because of the Governor’s Stay At Home declaration, Portsmouth is inviting residents to prepare for a “virtual” celebration of Arbor Day on April 24, 2020 by participating in a #TreeCityHug activity. Residents are invited to submit selfies/photographs of themselves hugging a favorite tree in their backyards, neighborhoods or City parks to hotline@cityofportsmouth.com and to post to their Facebook pages with the hashtag #TreeCityHug. A gallery of these images will be posted on the City website and shared in the City Manager’s Daily Advisory on April 24, Arbor Day.

As an added component, residents might want to identify the trees in their photographs and assist their children with identifying trees nearby. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests recommends the iNaturalist app, a joint initiative of the National Geographic Society and the California Academy of Sciences. The app helps identify trees in “real time” using photographs of bark, buds, leaves and branches. The Portsmouth elementary students who began a project tapping maple trees in March to study how maple sap becomes syrup, have a head start in knowing which trees are maples, and which are not.

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, filter environmental pollutants, aid in storm water runoff and filtration, provide wildlife habitat and screening, increase biodiversity and improve the quality of life in the City. Certified Arborist and Parks and Greenery Department Foreman Corin Hallowell 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.

Portsmouth established an Urban Forest Ordinance and appoints a Trees & Public Greenery Committee, currently chaired by Peter Loughlin. The Committee also includes the City Manager, Director of Public Works, City Arborist and seven other individuals with an interest in trees and public greenery. The Committee assists the City Arborist in ensuring the proper expansion, protection and maintenance of the City’s Urban Forest. For more information about the City’s urban forest and its Tree Protection and Planting guidelines, click here.