Cleveland Utilities has again completed the city’s trifecta of National Arbor Day Foundation honors by being named a Tree Line USA for the 14th consecutive year.
In March, the city of Cleveland was recognized as a Tree City USA for the 21st straight year by the Arbor Day organization, and just a few days later Cleveland State Community College again earned the prestige of being a Tree Campus USA.
If such distinctions came with a confectioner’s touch, CU’s Tree Line USA status would be the frosting on the cake.
“This clearly shows our commitment and the importance this effort is to our utility,” CU Electric Division Vice President Bart Borden said.
Borden, who credited the work of CU staff and line crews and the utility’s partnership with ASPLUNDH Tree Expert Company for making the Tree Line USA honor possible, confirmed the Arbor Day Foundation status during a recent gathering of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities.
“I would like to recognize Amy Ensley for compiling the submittal to the National Arbor Day Foundation and our partnership with ASPLUNDH Tree Expert Company for their commitment to professional tree care,” Borden said.
He also credited the work of Dean Watson, operations manager for the CU Electric Division.
Borden explained the Tree Line USA program “... recognizes utilities that protect and enhance our community’s urban forest.”
He added, “The program promotes delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy trees. This results in numerous benefits from the trees, including cleaner air and water, higher property values, improved quality of life and conservation of energy and reduced peak demand from the shade they provide.”
Borden pointed out Cleveland Utilities participated in the recent Arbor Day ceremony by the city of Cleveland. He also credited Ken Webb, CU president and CEO, as being an active member representing Cleveland Utilities on the Cleveland Shade Tree Board.
CU was notified of its Tree Line USA status recently by Dan Lambe, vice president of programs for the Arbor Day Foundation.
In a letter to Webb, dated March 25, Lambe identified the level of dedication required of a utility to earn the Tree Line USA distinction.
“Your success in meeting Tree Line USA standards — training employees in quality tree-care practices, educating the public about planting trees for energy conservation and helping homeowners plant appropriate trees near utility lines — not only helps provide beautiful trees for the future, but also yields long-term savings for customers,” Lambe stated.
Tree Line USA is a collaboration of the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.
“Tree Line USA promotes the dual goals of delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community trees,” Lambe stated.
On behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation, Lambe congratulated CU on earning the “... well-deserved recognition again.”
John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, called CU an exemplary model of urban forestry.
“Trees are a critical part of urban landscapes all across the United States,” Rosenow said. “Service providers like Cleveland Utilities show that taking care of urban trees is good for business, good for customers and good for the community.”
CU achieved Tree Line USA status by meeting five program standards, including 1) follow industry standards for quality tree care; 2) provide annual worker training in best tree-care practices; 3) sponsor a tree-planting and public education program; 4) maintain a tree-based energy conservation program; and 5) participate in an Arbor Day celebration.
In earlier announcements, Cleveland and CSCC representatives weighed in on the Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA honors.
Of Tree City USA, Cleveland Urban Forester Dan Hartman pointed out, “As a forester, I think following this award’s guidelines is critical. You need to protect what you have to try to grow and replace for future generations. Some of the large trees in town, if somebody 100 years ago hadn’t planted them, we wouldn’t have them now.”
Of Tree Campus USA, CSCC President Dr. Bill Seymour cited, “Cleveland State Community College is proud to be recertified as a Tree Campus USA. This award recognizes the hard work and dedication of so many throughout the campus, and it is rewarding to know our efforts paid off once again.”
The Arbor Day Foundation is a 1 million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.