Merced celebrates 33 years as Tree City USA

Three saplings freshly planted in south Merced on Thursday marked the city’s affection for trees.

Students from Alicia Reyes Elementary School helped city leaders plant the Bradford pear trees at Harriet Tubman Park during Merced’s annual Arbor Day ceremony.

Though Arbor Day is typically celebrated on the last Friday in April, many students in Merced will be on spring break next week, so city staff planned the celebration for Thursday.

For 33 years, Merced has been deemed a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Guy Anderson of the California Department of Forestry was on hand to recognize that designation. He also oversaw the planting of the trees.

Earlier in the week, Public Works Department crews planted crepe myrtle, Raywood ash and maple trees at Gracey Elementary, Tenaya Middle, Stowell Elementary and Rivera Middle schools.

According to the foundation, Tree City USA status is given to communities that meet four standards of urban forestry management: having a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.