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State, Local Officials & Partners Celebrate Cumberland’s Tree Planting Efforts
New DNR Study Shows Benefits and Need for Additional Trees in Cumberland
Cumberland, Md. — Today, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin and Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm Woolf joined Cumberland Mayor Lee Fielder, teachers and students of Allegany County Public Schools and many other community partners for a celebration of the city’s urban tree canopy expansion efforts.
“Our state continues to grow smarter and greener thanks the initiative of communities like Cumberland who are engaging citizens of all ages and walks of life to reduce their environmental footprint by planting trees and utilizing renewable energy sources,” said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin.
During the event, DNR’s Forest Service released findings of a recently completed study of Cumberland’s existing and potential urban tree canopy. Collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service, University of Vermont and Chesapeake Bay Program, the report utilized high-resolution satellite data and GIS information to calculate various types of land cover (trees, grass, buildings, roads) at the parcel level across the city. Finding that within Cumberland’s more urbanized areas, tree canopy covers approximately 28 percent of the city, the report’s analysis estimated that an additional 32 percent of the city (2,058 acres) could be covered by trees in the future.
“Cumberland’s residential property owners control the largest percentage of the city’s urban tree canopy, but half of those residential parcels have less than 20 percent of their land covered by tree canopy,” said DNR Regional Forester Becky Wilson when describing the study’s findings. “Cumberland’s trees are a vital city asset; reducing stormwater runoff pollution, improving air quality, reducing energy bills, and adding beauty city-wide; all great reasons to further increase tree cover.”
The event was held at Fort Hill High School to recognize the school’s initiative, under the leadership of teacher Mac Sloan, in establishing a native tree nursery, planting trees and installing renewable solar energy. The school received a formal Governor’s Citation signed by Governor Martin O’Malley in honor of its measurable impact and continuing service in helping to restore Maryland’s environment and maintain a high quality of life in Cumberland. Cumberland’s Shade Tree Commission also committed $1,500 to support the school’s newly renovated greenhouse that Mr. Sloan, with assistance from local business owner, Ron Graunke, recently established to grow native trees as part of the city’s urban tree canopy expansion effort.
“Today’s event is a result of the work of many partners to provide information to use in planning for the future of the tree canopy in our town, I hope that all of Cumberland’s residents will consider what they can do to join this exciting effort,” said Cumberland Mayor Lee Fiedler. “It will take the involvement of those that live and work here to ensure the long-term success of our urban tree canopy project.”
Students of the school’s ecology club helped to plant two, eight-foot tall, native American Elms, in front of Fort Hill High School to kick off the city’s new effort to plant a total of 300 trees on the grounds of the nine Allegany County Public Schools located in Cumberland. The partnership between Allegany County Public Schools, the City of Cumberland, DNR and the Chesapeake Bay Trust will offer every Cumberland student the opportunity to learn, hands on, about the important role trees play in our environment and communities.
“It is only through working together in partnerships like this, and engaging as many youth and individual citizens as possible that we will make real progress in protecting and restoring our environment from the many challenges facing our communities,” added Griffin.
Recognizing the benefits of overall tree canopy cover as a water quality best management practice in urban areas, under Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership, the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council established a goal for 120 communities in the bay watershed to adopt an urban tree canopy goal by 2020. To date, 38 communities in Maryland have committed to adopting urban tree canopy goals. DNR has completed assessments for four communities and two cities – Annapolis and Baltimore - have adopted goals.
Eighty-six percent of Marylanders live in urban areas. Residents can help by planting trees and maintaining local trees by watering and mulching around the base.
The event concluded Cumberland’s “Capital for a Day” events. The monthly effort launched by Governor O’Malley brings the State Capital to every corner of Maryland through a series of events across a diverse selection of Maryland cities, towns and communities.
October 14, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.