MASON CITY – The City of Mason City was recently honored with the 2021 Tree City USA Growth Award by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Mason City was one of 14 Iowa communities to qualify for Tree City USA Growth status. A Growth Award is bestowed to a community alongside their Tree City USA recognition for demonstrating environmental improvement and a higher level of tree care. The Growth Award recognizes major milestones and annual activities in five categories on a point based system to build sustainable community forestry programs over the long term such as: building a team, measuring trees and forests, planning the work, performing the work, and building the community framework.
“Tree City USA communities can experience the positive effects that an urban tree canopy has year after year,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The trees being planted and cared for by Mason City are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program helps cultivate a sense of stewardship and pride for the trees the community plants and cares for.”
With the additional recognition of a Growth Award, Mason City has demonstrated their expediency towards building framework for sustainable urban forest management. Urban tree plantings help reduce energy consumption by up to 25%, which will reduce general energy costs and help with the overall cooling of the city as well. In addition, members of the community benefit from properly placed trees as they increase property values from 7-20%. Trees also positively affect the local ecosystem by helping to clean water and create animal habitats to encourage biodiversity.