SPEARFISH, SD – For the sixth time, the City of Spearfish received a Tree City USA Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation, making it the longest active recipient of the award in the state.
Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent Rex McDonald explained the Arbor Day Foundation is a nationally recognized organization that is responsible for certifying municipalities with a Tree City USA certification.
“Spearfish has been a Tree City USA for the last 38 years,” he said.
“When a city goes above and beyond the requirements that it takes to be a certified Tree City USA, that city can earn a Growth Award, if certain criteria is met.”
The City of Spearfish previously received Growth Awards in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995.
Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent McDonald described that in the summer of 2021, the City, assisted by a grant awarded by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR), hired a summer intern from Black Hills State University to collect and record field data to complete a citywide tree inventory.
“A citywide tree inventory is an extremely valuable tool for an urban forester because it gives us a lot of useful information that helps guide decisions made about the urban forest,” Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent McDonald said.
“For example, we can see a percentage breakdown of tree species within our community and then plan to plant more diversity in our annual planting plan.”
He added the tree inventory was a resource identified in the City’s Emerald Ash Borer action plan approved by the City Council in 2019, and the tree inventory project earned the 2021 Tree City USA Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation.
The Arbor Day Foundation website states,
“The Tree City USA Growth Award is presented by the Arbor Day Foundation to participating Tree City USA communities that demonstrate higher levels of tree care and community engagement during the calendar year.”
“There are several ways a community can achieve a Growth Award, and many of the ways in which the City of Spearfish runs our urban forestry district would make us eligible to apply for Growth Awards in the future,” Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent McDonald said.
Josh Larson, community forester with South Dakota DANR, presented the Growth Award at the Spearfish Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Advisory Board meeting June 16.
Photo caption: The City of Spearfish received a Tree City USA Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation during the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Advisory Board meeting June 16. From left are pictured Justin Griffith, Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Board Chairperson; Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Superintendent Rex McDonald; Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Ehnes; and Josh Larson, community forester with South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Photo courtesy City of Spearfish