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Community Forestry Program

The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) Community Forestry Program emphasizes the importance of planning for the future regarding public tree resources.

Northwest Management, Inc. (NMI) was recently contracted by the IDL and the Clearwater and Panhandle Lakes Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Councils to be the community forestry assistant (CFA) for North Idaho. NMI will be assisting the IDL to communicate the diverse benefits that trees provide to cities and assist communities to plan and implement sustainable local community forestry programs and projects. NMI has a Certified Arborist on staff to provide forestry assistance to cities.

Northwest Management, Inc. is responsible for the following educational projects.

  • NMI is encouraged to attend urban and community forestry (UCF) related workshops, seminars and meetings when possible to broaden the knowledge-base of community forest management and arboriculture.
  • Work with communities to apply, implement, and maintain community forestry grant projects including the Community Transportation Enhancement (CTE) grants sponsored by the Idaho Department of Transportation.
  • Provide a public inteface for questions and assistance in the community forestry setting.
  • Seek out and capitalize on outreach opportunities specific to community needs, including dissemination of Project Learning Tree materials to local community tree boards and/or others who can work with local school district contacts.

If your community is interested in developing a community forest program or would like to expand an existing program, please contact Tera King at the NMI Moscow office (208) 883-4488 ext 133 or Jim Colla at the Hayden office (208) 772-8554. You can also contact the Clearwater RC&D office at (208) 882-4960 Ext. 102 or the Panhandle Lakes RC&D office at (208) 762-4939 Ext. 115.

Tree City USA Program

As part of the community forestry program, NMI coordinates the presentation of annual Tree City USA Awards in north Idaho.

To qualify for a Tree City USA Award, a community must meet four standards each year:

  1. Have a tree committee or city forestry department
  2. Have a tree care ordinance
  3. Spend at least $2 per capita annually to maintain its tree program
  4. Proclaim and celebrate Arbor Day
  5. History of Tree City USA

It all began in 1976 as a way to help commemorate the nation’s bicentennial through a needed and lasting contribution. To develop the program, a unique partnership was formed between the USDA Forest Service, National Arbor Day Foundation and National Association of State Foresters. This partnership continues to promote the concept of continuous, systematic tree care and using awards as the incentive to help local leaders interest their community in planting trees and caring for existing trees.

Throughout the United States, Tree City USA has become the catalyst for communities to better care for their trees. The program is in its 31st year, and more than 2,700 communities, military bases and urbanized counties proudly display their Tree City USA awards.

History of Arbor Day

The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan. His most important legacy is Arbor Day. Morton felt that Nebraska’s landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees. He set an example himself planting orchards, shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm and he urged his neighbors to follow suit. Morton’s real opportunity, though, arrived when he became a member of Nebraska’s state board of agriculture. He proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. Nebraska’s first Arbor Day was an amazing success. More than one million trees were planted. A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton’s birthday.

In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton’s idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days. Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day. Julius Sterling Morton would be proud. Sometimes one good idea can make a real difference.


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