ANNAPOLIS – Continuing his commitment to protect and celebrate Maryland’s natural resources, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today, on Maryland Arbor Day, proclaimed April TREE-MENDOUS Maryland month.
“Trees provide a marvel of ecological benefits; they remove nutrients from the soil, absorb pollutants, reduce sedimentation, provide shelter, block cold winter winds and hot summer sun,” Governor Ehrlich said. “I celebrate Arbor Day and encourage all Marylanders to plant a tree today.”
Maryland’s Arbor Day is always the first Wednesday of the month; this year it is April 7. Nationally, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April; this year that is April 30.
Now in its fifteenth successful year, TREE-MENDOUS Maryland is a program of the Department of Natural Resources Forest Service which encourages Marylanders to improve the environment, beautify their neighborhoods, and reforest our shorelines with the planting of trees and shrubbery. The program has worked with over 700,000 dedicated Maryland volunteers who have planted nearly 9 million saplings and shrubs, and completed over 5,000 projects throughout the state, many of which contributed to the Stream ReLeaf project goal of reforesting 1,200 miles of shoreline by the year 2010.
Trees can add value to homes, help cool neighborhoods, break cold winds to lower heating costs, and provide food for wildlife. Some estimates place energy cost savings from trees at almost $200 per year. Healthy trees can also add 10 percent to the value of a residential home. Water quality and wildlife habitat are also improved with planting trees. Not only can they be used to prevent erosion, but areas shaded by trees also prevent the carrying of sediment and chemicals into water.
“TREE-MENDOUS Maryland is not just about planting trees, it’s also about education and teaching children early on the value, beauty and science of trees,” TREE-MENDOUS Maryland Program Coordinator Terry Galloway said. “We know that children who appreciate trees will grow up to be adults who plant trees.”
Education activities surrounding TREE-MENDOUS Maryland and Maryland Arbor Day include free seedlings for third-grade classes and a poster contest for fifth graders that will send the Maryland finalist to a national competition.
In addition, free pine seedlings are available on Wednesday morning in the lobby of the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis, headquarters for DNR.
Arbor Day was held for the first time 130 years ago in a nearly treeless Nebraska. According to The National Arbor Day Foundation of Nebraska City, a state proclamation encouraged homesteaders to plant trees that would provide shade, shelter, fruit, fuel and beauty. Arbor Day now is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care.
To learn more about Arbor Day, DNR’s TREE-MENDOUS Maryland program or to purchase trees from the state nursery and find a tree planting near you, please visit DNR’s website, at www.dnr.maryland.gov.
For great ideas on how to celebrate Arbor Day, its history and tips for planting trees, check out the National Arbor Day Foundation’s website at www.arborday.org.