The City of Mexico has been recertified for the 34th year as Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation – a feat both local park officials and garden federation members relish. In recognition of Arbor Day Friday, the Missouri Department of Conservation presented the city with a banner for the honor and local officials planted a tree.
Members of the Mexico Federated Garden Club gathered at Teal Lake Friday for the City's Arbor Day tree planting celebration. Members watched as Mayor Ron Loesch read a proclamation, declaring Friday as "Arbor Day in Mexico" and city worker Rick Singleton planted a Jane Magnolia tree, near the park pavilion. Mexico Parks and Recreation Director Chad Shoemaker presented a brief history of the tree, its planting and growth cycle. City staff later gave away River Birch, Pecan, Chinkapin Oak and Red Oster Dogwood trees.
Tree City USA is greening communities around the U.S. Laura Worstell with the Mexico Federated Garden Club thanked the city for its commitment to care and maintaining the city's parks and trees and encourages everyone "to take care of the trees."
To qualify as a Tree City USA community, a town or city must meet four standards established by The Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. The four core standards are designed to provide the framework and direction for the strategic management of community trees, which encourages participation from local organizations such as the Federated Garden Club to help the effort by maintaining flower beds and other horticulture landscapes throughout town.
Angela Belton, a resource forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation said participation in the Tree City USA program helps residents feel good about the place they live, and shows visitors and prospective residents that trees, conservation and the environment are an important part of life in this community. The city's observation of Arbor Day, Shoemaker added, provides the opportunity for his department to educate people who care about their community about the value of tree resources and the importance of sustainable tree management.
Mexico was the first city in Missouri to receive Tree City USA recognition in 1978, and has held that honor since, give or take a few broken years in the system. The City of Mexico, Shoemaker said, had put its planting on a "long hold," due to drought conditions across Audrain County and the state.