Arbor Foundation names McAlester a Tree City USA

May 2—McAlester has once again been designated a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

The city received the designation as a 2023 Tree City USA to honor its commitment to "effective urban forest management."

It's the latest in a long line of achievements.

"We've been a Tree City for 36 years," said McAlester Community Tree Board President Lacey Sudderth, referring to the number of years McAlester has won the honor.

She noted the work of a predecessor and longtime McAlester Tree Board president and Arbor Day activities advocate.

"We're continuing the work of Sabra Tate," Sudderth said.

McAlester achieved the Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program's four requirements:

—Maintaining a tree board or department.

—Having a tree care ordinance.

—Dedicating an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita.

—Hosting an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

"Trees are more important now than ever," Sudderth said during this year's Arbor Day event, held April 26 at the Kiamichi Technology Center.

McAlester Mayor John Browne noted the hard work that goes into being consistently named a Tree City USA.

"I want to thank the tree board for putting everything in place for us to be a Tree City for decades," Browne said. "They do a remarkable job."

He said if every board or committee in McAlester worked as hard as the Tree Board does, the city could achieve remarkable things.

Browne also gave a shout-out to Sudderth, city of McAlester Head Gardener Robbie Patton and staff, and to KTC for hosting the Arbor Day event.

Included in the activities were a brief advisory from Patton on how to plant trees and how to make a bird feeder from pine cones. A number of trees and/or pine seedlings were also won or given to program participants to plant.

Sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, the Tree City USA program is in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of Foresters.

"Tree City USA communities see the positive effects of our urban forests firsthand," said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation in a statement from the organization.

"The trees being cared for and planted by McAlester are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life," Lambe said.

"Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it's through volunteer engagement or public education."

The Arbor Day Foundation said if there ever was a time for trees, now is that time.

"Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, energy use and extreme heat and flooding.

"McAlester is doing its part to address these challenges for residents both now and in the future."

During this year's Arbor Day event at KTC, Browne read a proclamation designating April 29 as Arbor Day in McAlester.

Browne noted that in 1872, Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting pf trees. Arbor Day was first recognized with the planting of a million trees in Nebraska.

Oklahoma also celebrates the importance of trees by observing Arbor Day, Browne continued.

"Trees can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce oxygen and provide habitat for wildlife, Browne said.

"Trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for pour homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products," Browne continued.

"Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of the business areas and beautify our community. Trees, wherever they are planted, are a sense of joy and a spiritual renewal," the mayor said, proclaiming Arbor Day in the city.

"I urge all citizens to celebrate Arbor Day, and to support efforts to protect trees and woodlands and further, I urge all citizens to plant trees to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations," said Browne.

Everyone is welcome to join the McAlester Community Tree Board, said Sudderth. Anyone needing more information can phone 918-426-0930.