Vancouver celebrates Arbor Day at home with new Letters to Trees Program

Residents throughout Vancouver are encouraged to celebrate all of April as Arbor Month 2020

VANCOUVER — Vancouver Urban Forestry is encouraging an at-home, personal approach to this year’s Arbor Day to further strengthen the community’s already well-rooted love of trees.

Under Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy’’ order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the city of Vancouver has canceled its traditional Arbor Day celebration and ceremonial tree planting. Instead, residents throughout Vancouver are encouraged to celebrate all of April as Arbor Month 2020, with an ongoing recognition of the community’s trees – from backyard trees to local heritage trees – through online, at-home tree activities for the whole family.

Letters to Trees encourages kids and adults to connect with their favorite local trees, including the city’s protected Heritage Trees, noted for their size, cultural or historical importance, and significance, found in more than 30 locations throughout the city. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver
Letters to Trees encourages kids and adults to connect with their favorite local trees, including the city’s protected Heritage Trees, noted for their size, cultural or historical importance, and significance, found in more than 30 locations throughout the city. Photo courtesy of city of Vancouver

“While we value the fellowship and fun of our Arbor Day celebrations, the need to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 is greater,” Urban Forester Charles Ray said. “In these unprecedented times, it’s important that we continue to celebrate our trees and our community. We will just do that a little differently this Arbor Day.”

This is Vancouver’s 31st year of recognition as a Tree City USA, and recipient of the prestigious Tree City USA Growth Award. Arbor Day awards are also given to Clark Public Utilities, recognized as a Tree Line USA utility, and to Clark College and Washington State University-Vancouver, recognized with Tree Campus USA awards.

Traditionally, the city’s Arbor Day ceremony includes the Urban Forestry Commission’s presentation of the annual Mac Award to a person or organization that has made a difference in our community’s urban forest. This year’s winner is local arborist Scott Clifton, a tree care professional, dedicated volunteer and tree care workshop educator, who also coordinates regional tree-climbing competitions. Clifton will be receiving his award by mail.

Just in time to help residents with their own Arbor Day festivities at home, while maintaining healthy social distancing, Vancouver Urban Forestry is launching a new Letters to Trees program, part of a new online Treeducation Station, providing activities and links for families and educators seeking additional learning opportunities about trees and urban spaces for students.

Letters to Trees encourages kids and adults to connect with their favorite local trees, including the city’s protected Heritage Trees, noted for their size, cultural or historical importance, and significance, found in more than 30 locations throughout the city. After learning about a particular tree or trees in general, participants are encouraged to “write” a letter – words, artwork or both  – and submit that to Vancouver Urban Forestry to be shared on the website, at events and more. Forms and more details are available on the Letters to Trees webpage.

Vancouver Urban Forestry is part of the city’s Department of Public Works and works to grow and protect trees, a valuable asset to our community and an important component of managing stormwater. Visit www.cityofvancouver.us/urbanforestry for more information.

Information provided by city of Vancouver.

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