Washington, DC (September 21, 2011)- In a new video released today, USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell reminds us of the value of urban trees and encourages everyone “to get involved both personally and professionally” in NeighborWoodsTM Month this October. Watch the video and read the transcript below to see what he had to say.
“Hi I’m Tom Tidwell. As you know, our motto is caring for the land and serving people, and that includes managing the national forests and grasslands.
Americans get a lot of benefits from these lands: clean air and water, habitat for wildlife, opportunities for outdoor recreation, and more.
But our responsibilities go way beyond the national forest system. We have a role to play, directly or indirectly, on roughly 80% of the nation’s forests. That includes the nation’s 100 million acres of urban forests.
Caring for the land and serving people means serving people right where they live. 80% of Americans now live in metropolitan areas; that’s where the trees are, where the forests are, that most people benefit from in their daily lives.
Urban trees and greenery raise the quality of life. They add scenic beauty, they save energy by providing shade, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, and our scientists tell us that they also reduce stress and lower crime rates.
In addition, urban forests provide great learning opportunities. Aldo Leopold once said that “the weeds in a city lot convey the same lessons as the redwoods.” You don’t need to go to a national forest to learn how ecosystems work, how sunlight, soil, water, plants, animals and people interact. You can see it along local creeks, along neighborhood streets, in your own backyard.
We can have a healthy urban forest in all of these places, and part of our job at the forest service is to work with people across the rural-urban gradient to make it happen.
This October you will have an opportunity to do that during National NeighborWoods Month. National NeighborWoods Month is the annual celebration of trees in our communities. All month long there will be tree plantings, educational workshops, tree tours, and community green-ups in cities and towns across the country.
I encourage you to get involved both personally and professionally. National NeighborWoods Month is an opportunity to forge lasting partnerships for the health and resilience of our urban forest for the benefit of generations to come. For more information visit the National NeighborWoods Month website.
I know you do a lot, and as Chief I am proud of everything you accomplish. Thank you for all that you do in caring for the land and serving people.”
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US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell
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