For its commitment to managing, expanding, and preserving an urban forest, the Arbor Day Foundation has designated the City of Santa Clara as a Tree City USA community for the 35th time since 1987. In addition, Santa Clara was one of 15 California cities recently recognized with the prestigious Growth Award, and this marks the 22nd time the city has received this distinguished award.
Santa Clara officials say they remain dedicated to environmental sustainability and climate action through community programs, projects, partnerships, and policy development.
“Trees provide us with environmental, economic and social benefits like improving air quality and community health, enhancing quality of life, attracting businesses, dampening noise and creating beautiful spaces for our community to enjoy,” said Santa Clara City Manager Rajeev Batra. “Over the past few years, the Santa Clara City Council has continued to focus on sustainability as a strategic policy priority.”
The Arbor Day Foundation designates communities as Tree Cities if they meet four overarching standards:
- Maintaining a tree board or department
- Having a community tree ordinance
- Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry
- Celebrating Arbor Day
Santa Clara maintains some 10,500 City street trees through its Public Works Department. Chapter 12.35 of its city code lays out the rules and regulations for maintaining the urban forest, and its Arbor Day Celebration is a staple of Earth Month.
The Growth Award recognizes major milestones and annual activities in five categories – Building the Team, Measuring Trees and Forests, Planning the Work, Performing the Work, and The Community Framework – that combine to build sustainable community forestry programs over the long term. The Arbor Day foundation presents it to participating Tree City USA communities that demonstrate higher tree care and community engagement levels during the calendar year.
Planting trees shows a commitment to the environment and future generations, according to the city, which says a thriving urban forest offers many advantages to the community.
“Recently, the medical community has even recognized neighborhood trees and exposure to natural green spaces as having a positive impact on reducing stress, improving overall physical and mental health and improving development in children,” said Michelle Templeton, the sustainability manager for Santa Clara.
Visit SantaClaraCA.gov/Sustainability for more information on the city’s sustainability efforts.