For the love of trees

One of the fun things of spring is to watch the bare trees in Wisconsin leaf out. A celebration of trees takes place today since it's Arbor Day in the Badger state

Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees and forests in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. Wisconsin has celebrated Arbor Day on the last Friday of April since 1883.

"Wisconsin's urban and rural forests all serve a vital role in the economy, environment and culture of our local communities and the state as a whole," said Fred Souba, Jr., Wisconsin's Chief State Forester. "The investments by individual homeowners and forest landowners are key to ensuring Wisconsin continues to have healthy and sustainable urban and rural forests for future generations to enjoy."

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has donated tree seedlings to fourth-grade classrooms across Wisconsin to commemorate Arbor Day. These seedlings, grown by the Division of Forestry's reforestation program, help young people learn about the important role of trees in their everyday lives.

"Urban forests can reduce energy costs, provide health benefits, improve air quality and control erosion," according to Jeff Roe, DNR urban forestry team leader. "It is clear our residents recognize the social and environmental benefits trees offer since so many communities across Wisconsin have earned Tree City USA designation."

Wisconsin is second in the nation for Tree City USA communities . Holding an Arbor Day celebration is one of the four standards of urban forest management a community must meet to achieve Tree City USA status. The other requirements are: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, and spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry.

For ideas on how to celebrate Arbor Day, search the DNR website, , for keywords " Arbor Day ."