Dozens of Communities Attend Tree City USA Event

Mount Vernon, Gambier, Kenyon College, MVNU all receive recognition

Representatives from 45 communities across Central Ohio attended the recent 2022 Tree City USA Awards Presentation at Ariel-Foundation Park.

MOUNT VERNON, April 27, 2022 – The Shade Tree Commissions of the City of Mount Vernon and the Village of Gambier, along with the Tree Campuses of Kenyon College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University, hosted the 2022 Tree City USA Awards Presentation on April 21 in the Schnormeier Event Center in Ariel-Foundation Park. The event included 45 communities from 15 counties across Central Ohio.

“We were pleased to see so many attendees in our community. We planned this event in 2020, but had to cancel due to the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. James Brown, chairperson of the City of Mount Vernon’s Shade Tree and Beautification Commission.

Tree City USA is one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s oldest programs and helps communities with the direction, assistance and recognition of growing and maintaining healthy tree canopies. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) administers all Tree City, Tree Line and Tree Campus programs in the state on behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation. The Awards Presentation is an opportunity to recognize these efforts.

The day’s events started with a welcome from Dr. Brown, who introduced Matt Starr, Mayor of Mount Vernon, and Gambier Mayor Leeman Kessler. Brian Ball, Mount Vernon’s City Engineer, gave a presentation on the City’s tree inventory and increased species diversity, which have aided the riparian projects and stormwater management programs in the City.

The morning’s speakers were followed by walking tours of Ariel-Foundation Park and a box lunch catered by Lannings Foods. Amy Henricksen, project coordinator of the Philander Chase Conservancy and steward of the Kokosing Nature Preserve, was the afternoon speaker. She spoke about the history, creation and conservation of the Kokosing Nature Preserve and natural burials.
The event concluded with an awards presentation and remarks from Alistair Reynolds, a Regional Urban Forester with the ODNR Division of Forestry.

“I’m thankful that we were able to have an event this year and that communities showed up. It was nice to see everyone in person again,” Reynolds said. “I look forward to next year’s Tree City Awards.”

The City of Mount Vernon and the Village of Gambier both received Growth Awards for their additional efforts to increase tree projects and their commitment of resources for urban forestry. Both Kenyon College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University received recognition for being Tree City Campuses.