Education, Outreach, and Advocacy Oregon Community Trees

Tree City USA Communities

What is Tree City USA?

The Tree City USA® program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 135 million Americans call home.

In Oregon, the Tree City USA program, and all the Arbor Day Foundation recognition programs, are administered through the Oregon Department of Forestry Urban and Community Forestry Assistance program. If you would like to learn more about how to apply for Tree City USA recognition, and the reasons to become a Tree City USA, please contact the ODF staff at [email protected]. Typically, Tree City USA applications are due mid-December every year.

Visit the Tree City USA Website

See the current List of Oregon Tree City USA communities

OCT helps Oregon communities commemorate the 75th anniversary in 2020 of the end of World War II with peace trees from Hiroshima

Oregon Community Trees is helping Oregon communities mark the 75th anniversary this year of the end of World War II and the atom bombing of Hiroshima, Japan by the planting of peace trees. These are trees grown from seeds collected in Hiroshima of trees that miraculously survived the atomic attack on that city. Since 2011 the non-profit group Green Legacy Hiroshima has been gathering the seed and sending it in batches around the world to recipients who agree to plant them in public locations as symbols of peace and reconciliation.

OCT Board Director Mike Oxendine of Ashland Parks and Peace Trees (2018).

OCT came into the picture in 2017, after Hiroshima bomb survivor Hideko Tamura-Snider asked OCT Board Member Mike Oxendine if he could germinate seeds she’d obtained from Green Legacy Hiroshima. A founder of the peace-promoting group One Sunny Day Initiative, based in Medford where she now lives, Tamura-Snider hoped at least a few peace trees might be planted in her adopted state.

Under Oxendine’s care the seeds grew into saplings. With no facilities to care for the young trees in Ashland, Oxendine appealed to Oregon Community Trees and the Oregon Department of Forestry to help find homes for the trees.

In April 2019, OCT Board Member Jim Gersbach, who works for Oregon Department of Forestry, transported 30 seedling ginkgo trees to Avery Park in Corvallis where they have been lovingly cared for by OCT Board Member Jennifer Killian and her colleagues at Corvallis Parks and Recreation. Later that year, another dozen ginkgo seedlings from the original germination were added, as were seven seedlings grown from an Asian persimmon survivor tree.

Jennifer Killian and ginkgo peace tree seedling – Avery Park, Corvallis 2020

Seedlings from both species were offered in 2019 by the Oregon Department of Forestry at no cost to Trees Cities USA/Tree Campuses USA in Oregon with a requirement that the trees be planted in public places in early 2020 as a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and the end of World War II, and to mark 75 years of continuous peace between the U.S. and Japan.

“The response was amazing,” said Gersbach. “Some 39 entities in 30 Oregon communities asked to receive one or more of the seedlings. Requests came from churches, schools, colleges, parks, arboretums and cemeteries all across the state.”

Five of the trees were planted in 2019 in Eugene, Hillsboro, La Grande, Lake Oswego and at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Most, however, are being planted in April 2020 during Arbor Week, on national Arbor Day or on Earth Day. Some cities have already received their trees and planted them. See Lake Oswego’s peace tree dedication ceremony coordinated by OCT Board Director and independent arborist Morgan Holen.

The seedling ginkgo and Asian persimmon trees were grown from seed collected from trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The bombing occurred 75 years ago on Aug. 6, 1945 and is also being remembered this year. Thirty-six peace trees (29 ginkgos and seven Asian persimmons) will be planted in 26 cities and towns across 16 Oregon counties, from the coast to northeast Oregon and from the Columbia Gorge to near the California border. Most of the seedlings are going to parks, arboretums and schools. Other sites include a cemetery and a church. The greatest number will be planted in April as part of Arbor Week. View the full list of locations here.

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