Orange County celebrated its recent designation by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for its 16th consecutive year. The Tree City USA program celebrates communities and their growing commitment to increasing their urban tree canopy.
“Trees provide effective and low-cost solutions to many urban challenges, including reducing pollution, removing carbon dioxide from the air and reducing energy costs for homeowners,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings. “Most importantly, residents and visitors alike enjoy being in an aesthetically pleasing environment with tree cover as a measure of quality of life.”
The Tree City USA designation, led by the Arbor Day Foundation with partners at USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, allows the necessary framework for communities to manage and expand their tree cover.
In 2022, Orange County planted more than 2,500 trees and distributed another 1,000 Florida-friendly trees to homeowners. The County continues the work in 2023 with ambitious goals to increase and protect tree canopies outlined in the County’s Sustainable Operations & Resilience Action Plan. This will be coupled with a tree ordinance that will support the conservation of pre-existing trees in new developments.
“Trees are critical to reducing air pollution and urban heat island effect,” said Carrie Black, Chief Sustainability and Resiliency Officer. “We are committed to maintaining and increasing the tree canopy on County property, in addition to updating the Tree Preservation Ordinance to provide increased protections, particularly for specimen and heritage trees, because the importance of our urban forest and environmentally sensitive lands will only continue to increase as our community grows.”