The city of Gainesville earned a Tree City USA designation from The Arbor Day Foundation for the 42nd straight year.
The designation recognizes a city’s commitment to urban forest management. According to a press release, Gainesville has the highest tree canopy percentage of any other cities in Florida that are equal in size or larger.
“To be a Tree City USA, you have to meet four requirements,” Dave Conser, the city’s arborist stated in a video. “One is to have a tree board, one is to have a tree ordinance of some sort, to spend a certain amount of money on trees, two dollars per capita per person and also to have an Arbor Day proclamation and celebration,”
Each year, around 1,000 trees are planted by the city of Gainesville’s Urban Forestry team. These are planted in parks, greenspaces and along streets. On Arbor Day each year, the city gives away hundreds of saplings to Gainesville residents and provides them with information on how to plant and take care of the tree.
The city’s project, Edible Groves, debuted in 2021 and has already won an award from the Florida League of Cities. 44 varieties of fruit trees such as chestnut, loquat, peach, pear, pecan, and tangerine were planted in two parks and a strip of publicly owned land. The groves are free for anyone to enjoy.
Now, the city has focused its efforts on the Level 2 arboretum at Evergreen Cemetary. The project will feature a botanical garden with more than 100 species of trees. Conser stated in a press release that the arboretum will feature a walk with interactive signage so visitors can learn more about the trees. It is expected to be finished later this year.
“Earning this designation for more than four decades is simply outstanding,” said Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward in a press release. “We love our trees, the shade they provide and the pollution they remove from the air we breathe. This recognition shows how committed we are to maintaining all of that for future generations.”