Group urges Wilmington communities to plant trees for economic, environmental, and health benefits

NC Arbor Day is a great time to act and benefit more from trees.
Arbor Day
(Photo: MGN)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) – The North Carolina Community Tree Advocacy Network (NC CTAN) urges homeowners, municipalities, businesses, and developers to honor Arbor Day by preserving and planting trees in their communities to further benefit the state’s economy, environment, and health.

“Each year North Carolina urban trees provide our state with $6.2 billion in community-wide environmental benefits, and add $1.9 billion to property values,” said NC CTAN member and NC Urban Forest Council Executive Director Leslie Moorman. “The best way to maintain and improve that number is to preserve and plant urban trees across North Carolina year round.”

This year is the 55th anniversary of North Carolina Arbor Day, which will be celebrated on March 18. North Carolina Arbor Day is always celebrated the Friday after March 15. April 29th also marks the 150th anniversary of National Arbor Day, which is always celebrated on the last Friday of April.

In addition to providing environmental and property value benefits, North Carolina’s urban trees also:

● Improve social inequities. Planting trees in redlined communities helps reverse discriminatory policies and creates fresh air, clean drinking water, and cooler neighborhoods; which in turn lowers utility costs, crime, and heat-related illnesses.

● Reduce crime. Property crimes are less frequent in residential neighborhoods when there are trees in right-of-ways and more abundant vegetation around houses and buildings.

● Improve physical and mental health in children and adults. Aerobic exercise, like walking, in a natural environment 20 minutes a day, three days a week, may lead to greater gains in lowering blood pressure, stress, depression, and ADD symptoms compared with exercise in non-green urban settings.

● Increase retail business. Research proves shoppers will travel farther, stay longer, and spend 9-12% more in retail areas with high quality trees.

● Decrease storm flooding. Urban trees absorb and filter stormwater which allows municipal systems to better handle runoff; reducing flooding, infrastructure damage, and groundwater pollution.

● Save home energy costs. Properly placed trees can reduce air conditioning by 30% and heating by 20-50%, which saves an average household $100-$250 in energy costs annually.

“North Carolina’s urban tree canopy provides all the benefits that motivate people to visit, move to, and invest in our communities,” said NC CTAN member and Alliance for Cape Fear Trees Executive Director Connie Parker. “We encourage all North Carolina residents, businesses, and policy makers to contact our organizations and learn how they can help protect, maintain, and plant urban trees in their neighborhoods.”

Research, tree care guides, Arbor Day event information, and NC CTAN contact information can be found by clicking here.

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