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The original item was published from 2/16/2022 11:04:51 AM to 2/28/2022 5:05:01 PM.

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Posted on: February 15, 2022

[ARCHIVED] City of Key West Recognized by Tree City USA

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The City of Key West was named a 2021 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

“Your community should be proud to live in a place that makes the planting and care of trees a priority, and you should be proud of a job well done!” wrote the Tree City team in a letter announcing the recognition.

Karen DeMaria, the City’s Urban Forester, says she’s grateful for the recognition that the City has received ten times.

“Our island’s canopy is vital to the quality of life of our residents and visitors,” said DeMaria.

On Arbor Day, the City urges property owners to plant a tree each year.

“Trees on publicly and privately owned property within the city are economic and aesthetic assets to the citizens,” says DeMaria, “because of their important and meaningful contribution to a healthy and beautiful community.”

Key West achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, partnering with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

When properly planted and maintained, trees are assets to a community, says DeMaria. They help improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.

Royal Poinciana

In the photo: Key West’s official tree: the royal poinciana.

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