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DCNR Highlights Importance of Trees in Communities on National Arbor Day


​Harrisburg, PA -- On Arbor Day, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger planted trees in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, to highlight the many benefits trees provide to communities.

Governor Shapiro’s proposed budget includes resources for DCNR that will assist with providing technical assistance to communities and with forest conservation and restoration.

The Shapiro Administration has ambitious goals around trees and forests, including:

  • Reducing current rates of forest loss by 5,000 acres per year
  • Restoring 5,000 acres of non-forest to forest by planting trees
  • Permanently conserving 15,000 acres of forest land vulnerable to development

“Planting a tree is a simple act with a big impact,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “Trees help with the solution to many of our environmental challenges, including addressing heat and stormwater from heavy rains that are resulting from a changing climate.”

Pennsylvania learned this month it will be receiving $9.75 million from the U.S. Forest Service to support communities with equitable access to trees and the benefits they provide. The funding was made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act.

“National Arbor Day is an annual observance when we celebrate trees, and all they do to help clean our air, protect our water quality, and make our landscapes and communities beautiful,” State Forester Ellen Shultzabarger said.

The trees were provided by the TreePennsylvania Bare-Root Tree Program.

TreePennsylvania provided 657 trees to 39 communities throughout the Commonwealth this spring.

“We all know that the Borough of Mechanicsburg is ‘A Good Place to Live’, but I also want to make sure it becomes and remains ‘A Green Place to Live’ for generations to come,” Borough of Mechanicsburg Environmental Programs Coordinator Luke Arnold said. “Trees are a vital part of our community and our ecosystem, and they help our Shade Tree Commission to create an urban canopy for our borough.”

Mechanicsburg Borough has a goal of planting 500 new trees between January 2023 and the celebration of its 200th year in January 2028.

TreeVitalize is a public-private partnership established by DCNR to help build capacity within communities to plan for, plant, and care for trees.

In 2021, DCNR added its first TreeVitalize Tree Equity Specialist to apply the principles of equity and environmental justice in urban and community forestry work across the commonwealth.

Dunn noted that interested Pennsylvanians can help support efforts to plant urban trees by donating to the Keystone Tree Fund voluntary $3 check-off box on driver’s license and vehicle registration online applications.

Trees and forests are critical in our efforts to address climate change, as they pull in and store carbon (a process that also helps with clean air). Other benefits are:

  • Reducing energy costs
  • Slowing runoff after storms
  • Increasing property values
  • Reducing noise
  • Attracting birds and wildlife

Find more information about trees in communities on the DCNR website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Christina Novak

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