HAMPTON, Va., April 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A plaque has been awarded, signs have been delivered and a flag is waiting to fly to let everyone know that NASA Langley is a "Tree City USA" community - NASA's first.
The Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, sponsors the "Tree City USA" program. It provides direction, technical assistance and national recognition for community forestry programs in thousands of communities across the country.
"Having 'Tree City USA' status lets the community know that we care about our environment, but it also benefits the center to have a program in place to manage our forests and raise awareness," said Peter Van Dyke, of Langley's Environmental Management Branch.
The branch hopes to create a memorial tree garden at Langley.
"This would allow people to plant native trees in honor of employees," Van Dyke said. "It also has a benefit of reforesting an area of the center at no taxpayers' expense, because the trees are purchased by the users."
Planting more native trees on the center is another goal of the program, as is planting a riparian buffer zone near Langley's water tower. Buffer zones reduce pollution and can provide food, habitat and thermal protection for fish and wildlife.
To qualify for "Tree City USA" status, four standards had to be met. Langley had to establish a "tree board," a tree care ordinance and a community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita.
Finally, it had to observe Arbor Day. That was done by combining Arbor Day with Earth Day at Langley. The two were celebrated together on Friday for the second year in a row, and plans are for that celebration to be an annual event.
- by Denise Lineberry
A photo is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/researchernews/rn_treecity.html#
For more information about Langley go to http://www.nasa.gov/langley.
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