Albany-area officials gathered today to mark Arbor Day near the New York state capitol.
Topping off New York’s weeklong celebration of Earth Day, State Department of Environmental Conservation Chief of Staff Julie Tighe joined state and local officials for a ceremonial tree planting on Arbor Day. "And we're here in beautiful, but rainy, West Capitol Park. We at DEC are always taking great pride in celebrating Arbor Day to highlight the importance of trees to our environment, our communities and our quality of life."
For the 16th year, the City of Albany was recognized as a "Tree City USA," that status achieved by maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
With over 6,000 street trees and over 1,600 trees within city parks, Democratic Mayor Kathy Sheehan says Albany "loves being a Tree City." "We are so proud of the city to be the first in New York state to partner with the Nature Conservancy in their Working Woodlands program, so that we can protect the woodlands that surround the Alcove Reservoir that provides us with drinking water here in the city of Albany. And all throughout all of that, trees play such an important role. And so it's also wonderful to be the capital city and have DEC join us last Friday, when the weather was, you know, like this but maybe not as wet, and we shivered in the cold and we planted trees and we are passing that on to the next generation. So to see little kindergarteners up to sixth graders so excited about trees, learning about their importance, it's so wonderful to see that we continue to pass this on from generation to generation."
New York state Assemblyman John McDonald is a fellow Democrat:"The legislature gets accused of a lot of things. Sometimes we get accused of not knowing enough to come in out of the rain, but obviously it good to see it spread itself through all forms of government agency officials as well. I too wanna first of all congratulate the mayor and the city of Albany. Being a individual who represents five cities, who actually had the privilege to run a city for 13 years, I know it sounds simple, but, trees do make a difference in your community. We were able to partner over those 13 years by planting over 5,000 trees throughout the city of Cohoes. Many in the downtown area, many are public spaces, because we know of all the environmental benefits, the health benefits, that come along with it."
While the event was underway, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $2.2 million in grants for tree planting and community forestry projects across New York.