Oklahoma City gearing up to celebrate Arbor Week

Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is seen from the air, July 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City is gearing up to celebrate Arbor Week.

Oklahoma City has earned recognition as a Tree City USA for the third year in a row thanks to efforts to protect and plant trees in the community, the City of Oklahoma City stated in a news release.

The recognition comes just before Oklahoma celebrates Arbor Week from March 25-31, set to be officially recognized with a proclamation during Tuesday’s Oklahoma City Council meeting.

The Tree City USA designation is bestowed by the Arbor Day Foundation to communities who meet several standards for protecting and planting trees, including spending at least $2 per capita on a community forestry program and having a tree care ordinance. The City spends about $2.89 per resident on trees.

“It shows we care about our trees, and we’re doing everything we can to protect them and plant more of them,” said Neal Bilger, a unit operations supervisor with the Parks Department. “They’re an important part of our natural spaces, and we’re proud to earn the Tree City USA designation.”

The Arbor Day Foundation estimates trees reduce costs for energy consumption, stormwater management and erosion control, providing value up to five times more than the cost of a tree. Shade from trees planted around buildings, for example, can reduce energy consumption by up to 25 percent.

Oklahoma Forestry Services and the Oklahoma Urban and Community Forestry Council are also honoring the City during Arbor Week for its commitment to trees.

You can see all of the trees in Oklahoma City’s parks in our tree inventory at okc.gov/parks. It shows each of the 19,632 trees in the City’s 134 parks, representing 185 species of trees. They have a collective estimated replacement value of $42.1 million.

The inventory was conducted in 2016 thanks to gifts from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Oklahoma Forestry Services.