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Community’s Urban Forest Growing to New Heights

City of Montrose Parks Superintendent John Malloy, left, helps a pair of children plant a new tree in Buckley Park during 2018 Arbor Day celebrations.

Community’s Urban Forest Growing to New Heights

 As part of Arbor Day and Earth Week celebrations here in Montrose, the city’s Parks Department is working to plant 78 new trees within the city in an annual effort to promote and preserve the community’s urban forests.

In total, 43 new trees will be planted in parks around the city while 35 new trees will be planted along a temporary access road the city built to connect Miami Road to the Black Canyon Golf Course during the construction of the Miami-Hillcrest roundabout.

In 2018 the city added 30 new trees to the index of 7,000 trees growing within the city’s right-of-ways.

“Montrose is fortunate to have a wide variety of open spaces available for the public, and we are working hard to make these areas accessible and sustainable,” Parks Superintendent John Malloy said.

On Tuesday, April 16, Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bynum issued a pair of proclamations designating April 22 through Sunday, April 28 as Earth Week in Montrose and April 26 as Arbor Day in the city.

During the same meeting, foresters with the Colorado State Forest Service delivered an award celebrating the 30th year that the City of Montrose has earned the title of Tree City USA.

Malloy said “species” is the theme he likes to talk about when celebrating Earth Week in Montrose because of the diverse plant and wildlife found all over the city.

“So this (species) can mean wildlife or even urban wildlife. One of my favorite spots to see animals is Cerise Park. There is a diverse mix of native trees and shrubs down there and several bird species congregate in the area,” Malloy said. “Just the other day at the pond at Riverbottom I was delighted to see a great blue heron sitting on the shore of the pond, two red-breasted nuthatches searching for food on a tree, and several red-winged blackbirds out in the marsh by the river.”

Malloy said work is currently underway by members of the Western Colorado Conservation Corps (WCCC) to remove large growths of invasive Russian olive trees in Cerise Park.

“This opens up the canopy so that native shrubs and trees can be successful,” Malloy said. “Cerise offers a unique opportunity to step away from the built environment and experience the river and the riparian corridor.”

On April 27 the city will host an Earth Day Expo in Buckley Park where local residents can help clean up the Montrose Arroyo that flows on the east side of the park, plant new trees, and receive helpful information about tree care and maintenance.

Malloy said the arroyo in Rotary Park is also in need of attention. Anyone wanting to volunteer can call the Parks’ Department for details on volunteering at 970.240.1411.

“Earth Week is all about enjoying your place and the natural elements it holds…water, earth, air…and doing what you enjoy in the outdoors and sharing this with others. Recreating, gardening, or bettering your community in some fashion,” Malloy said.

In 2018 the city earned a Growth Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation for its continued commitment to preserving and growing trees around the city.

History of Arbor Day

Arbor Day originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, by J. Sterling Morton on April 10, 1872.  An estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska as a result. This was later followed by an Arbor Day proclamation issued by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt on April 15, 1907. Since then celebrations across the country have included tree plantings and, appreciation and education events.

For more information about Earth Week in Montrose visit www.cityofmontrose.org/623/Earth-Week.

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William Woody