The Town of Paonia will once again be designated Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Tree City USA is a national recognition program of the Arbor Day Foundation founded in 1976 to celebrate the importance of urban tree canopies and their care. Paonia joins 98 Colorado communities and three military bases that have a Tree City USA designation.
After going without a tree board for about eight years, the town re-established its tree board in December, 2017. Also in 2017, the town contracted with the Colorado State Forest Service to inventory all of the trees in Paonia Town Park. Last April, tree board members and the town hosted a tree planting event at Apple Valley Park in recognition of Arbor Day.
Vince Urbina and Kammie Long with the Grand Junction Field Office of the Colorado State Forest Service worked with the tree board chairperson Paula Long to complete the application. The town was notified last week that the application for Tree City USA was accepted. The designation shows that the town "acknowledges the importance of trees and how to care for trees," said Martin. "It shows we care about our trees. It's a quality of life issue."
Paonia was first designated a Tree City USA in 1998, but hadn't applied for the designation for almost a decade. When it was re-established, the board's No. 1 task was to reinstate the Tree City USA designation, said Martin. An advisory board to the town Board of Trustees, the tree board is also tasked with educating the public about tree care and responsible planting.
This year the board plans to host another Arbor Day tree planting in April. It is also seeking citizens interested in serving as neighborhood tree stewards and in helping in the coming year to complete a survey of the town's trees, excluding Paonia Town Park. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or message the board on the Paonia Tree Board Facebook page.