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Cities that Love Trees

Trees and a bench in a restful spot in Boise, Idaho
Trees in Boise, Idaho

In the fall of 2013, my husband, son and I spent several days in Boise, Idaho while attending a barbershop singing event. They love singing barbershop songs.


When I was purchasing items at the cash register of a large store there, the cashier told me a little bit about Boise. "Boise means the city of trees," she told me. She was proud of her city.


I could tell that trees mean a lot to people who live in Boise. Almost everywhere we went there were trees. They were well taken care of. Idaho residents have valued trees for a very long time.


Idaho received its statehood in 1890, but long before that pioneers decided to improve the community's appearance by planting many trees. They provided cool shade in a desert frontier. The wise efforts of early Idaho residents continue to play an important role in the city of Boise. Community members love and respect their trees, which help to improve the city's quality.


Boise Community Forestry helps with that effort. The organization was created to educate citizens and the city government about the aesthetic benefits of trees. They help to improve the economy, the environment, and the psychological well-being of people who live in and visit the city. Boise Community Forestry is a branch of Parks and Recreation. It helps the city, citizen groups and volunteers plant trees and keep them healthy.


There is even a tree selection guide to help people plant and cultivate the right kinds of trees for different areas. It is estimated that trees create a benefit of over $9 million each year by helping to provide clean air and clean water. They also reduce energy use, enhance property values and provide many human health benefits.


Boise is not the only city that focuses on trees. An annual recognition program called Tree Cities of the World helps cities to focus on excellent urban forest practices and management. The program was created in 2018 in a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization.


It has been quite effective. Already there are 120 cities in 23 countries that are recognized as Tree Cities of the World. Trees make a subtle but incredible difference when they are valued and managed well.


I remember walking from our hotel to a grocery store in Boise and noticing how many trees grew around the store's parking lot. It almost seemed like the trees knew how much they were valued. It felt good to be around so many well cared for trees.


I will never forget the pride of that cashier in her city when she told me about how much Boise

loves its trees. It helped to make my visit there memorable.

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