The Delaware Forest Service’s urban and community program has awarded $58,409 in grants to 22 municipalities, HOA’s, and nonprofits to fund planting and management projects to improve tree canopy on public lands and open space in the First State. Over the past 10 years, the program has funded more than $1 million in community-based tree projects in Delaware.
Funded by the U.S. Forest Service, Delaware’s Urban and Community Grant Program is open to all municipalities, community associations, and certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations within the State of Delaware. Funds can only be utilized on public property owned by the municipality, HOA, or nonprofit organization. Grants can range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $5,000 in one of two project categories: tree planting or tree management. All applications require a 50-50 cost-share match in either cash or in-kind services within program guidelines.
U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper joined public officials and schoolchildren to observe “Delaware Arbor Day” at Dover Air Force Base, which celebrated its 25th Year as a Tree City USA. The last Friday in April is commemorated as Arbor Day in the First State, an occasion to encourage tree planting and highlight the numerous benefits that trees provide: cleaner air and water, natural beauty, valuable wood products and food, reduced storm water runoff, and improved property values. The ceremony also honored the winners of the Delaware Forest Service’s annual school poster contest and included a ceremonial tree planting of an American holly (Ilex opaca), Delaware’s state tree.
The Delaware Forest Service (DFS) has unveiled a new online tool that uses geographic information systems (GIS) software to help cities, towns, and neighborhoods to measure and increase their community tree canopy percentage. The link is: de.gov/treecanopy
Developed by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s GIS specialist Jimmy Kroon, the tool covers the entire First State: municipalities as well as homeowner associations and neighborhoods can assess their current level of tree cover as a starting point to explore opportunities to plant new trees and maintain their existing ones.
Leslie Merriken received Delaware’s 2017 “Tree Farmer of the Year” award for her extensive work in forestry conservation and education at the Delaware Forestry Association’s annual meeting in Bridgeville. The honor recognizes landowners who practice exceptional management and promote sustainable forestry.
The American Tree Farm System was established in 1941 and is one of the oldest forest landowner organizations. Delaware’s first Tree Farm was certified in 1959; today there are more than 200 Tree Farms covering over 20,000 acres.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary, the Delaware Forestry Association (DFA) will present its 2017 “Tree Farmer of the Year” award on Thursday, March 23 at its annual banquet and meeting at the Bridgeville Fire Hall, 311 Market Street, Bridgeville, Delaware 19933, (302) 337-7272. Tickets are $27 for adults and free for children under 12. Reservations are kindly requested by March 17. Forms are available at delawareforest.com
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