Montgomery County celebrated Arbor Day by commemorating the Black Tupelo as the new Montgomery County tree. The County’s departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation and Parks participated in this event last Friday on Arbor Day. The event was held at East County Community Recreation Center. Adriana Hochberg, the Acting Director at the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection spoke as the master of ceremony and invited Christopher Conklin the Director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and Eliza Cava the Director of Conservation at the Audubon Naturalist Society and the Co-Chair of the Naturally Latinos to speak. Liberty’s Promise Youth also was in attendance to help plant the trees. This is an organization that supports immigrant youth, ages 15-21, by providing them with means to become actively involved in civic life, pursue higher education, and embark upon meaningful careers. Check out the event in the clip below!
Along with the speeches lots of trees were planted at the center, two trees were raffled off, and people registered for plogging in a hopes to bring attention to the new County tree and encourage the planting of trees to increase the tree canopy. Residents were able to register for “plogging” supplies which included gloves, trash bags and a grabber reacher tool for picking up trash. Plogging is an innovate way to help the environment by doing an exercise like jogging, walking or biking while picking up trash. You can register by clicking here and schedule to pick up your plogging kit.
The Black Tupelo is now added to the list of county symbols that includes the robin as the County bird, the dogwood as the County blossom and the County seal. Adriana Hochberg said, “The black tupelo is resilient, beautiful and critical to our County ecosystem and tree canopy. It’s a perfect symbol for Montgomery County as our official tree.” She also recognized the partners that share a love and appreciation of trees and support the work in planting and maintaining trees that included, Forest Conservation Committee, Water Quality Advisory Committee, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Storm Water Partners, Audubon Naturalist Society, Montgomery County Forestry Board, and Joel Howard a Champion of Trees! Also, within the county government there are departments who work diligently on planting and protecting the counties trees and forests like, Department of Permitting and Services, Department of General Services, Tree Montgomery at the Department of Environmental Protection, Urban Forestry at the Department of Transportation, and Montgomery County Parks and Planning. In addition, there are many municipalities that assist with the counties trees like Gaithersburg, Rockville, Washington Grove, Garrett Park, Takoma Park, and Chevy Chase. Not to forget the all the residents too!
The Black Tupelo is native to the County and is a great shade tree, known for its long life. It is one of the trees most requested from the Tree Montgomery Program. County Executive Marc Elrich sent legislation to the County Council last year recommending the black tupelo as the County tree. In March, the Council approved that legislation.
For more information on how planting trees benefits Montgomery County, and to sign up for a free shade tree, visit TreeMontgomery.org
“The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is lucky to have a highly knowledgeable team of eight highly specialized arborists that ensure the health of our tree canopy and are at our residents’ service,” said Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “So far, this fiscal year, MCDOT has planted nearly 1,700 trees and we manage about 500,000 trees in the County rights of way. While we plant on roadway islands and on grounds of County facilities, most of our trees are planted within neighborhoods along County roadways. We encourage residents to make requests for trees in the rights of way by calling 311.”
Trees improve air and water quality and help reduce erosion and flooding. They are also a habitat for plants, birds and animals. People benefit too. Trees are a huge part of providing the oxygen needed to breathe.
Eliza Cava leaves us with thoughts of the actual Black Tupelo tree and all its characteristics and its natural ability to be so much to woodland creatures and the people around it and that the Forest Coalition is advocating for a stronger definition of forest protection in the existing forest conservation land. Montgomery County is planting lots of trees and the Coalition wants to make sure the trees being removed by development are being replaced with trees in a net gain of a new forest ecosystem.