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Buckley earns 2008 Tree City USA recognition

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The base was recognized as Tree City USA for the fifth straight year, May 12, at a ceremony in front of the A-Basin Child Development Center.

Children from the Room 137 pre-school class at the CDC christened the day by shoveling dirt onto the two Arbor Day trees planted in front of the CDC.

"(Arbor Day) teaches our youngsters about the importance of planting trees, because they're really good for the environment, they bring you shade, they help produce oxygen ... they do great things for us and this is just one more way, as a base, for us to reach that illustrious Tree City USA Award," said Lt. Col. James Zemotel, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron Commander.

Buckley has planted more than 50 trees over the last 12 months proving to be a "green thumb" in the community. However, the recognition is not an automatic renewal each year. The Arbor Day Foundation has four requirements for a city, or the base in this case, to become a Tree City USA.

There must be: a tree board or department to develop and administer a comprehensive community tree management program for the care of trees on public property; a community tree ordinance to designate the tree board, determine tree care policies and make provisions for establishing and updating a list of tree species to be planted; a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita for tree planting and care; and an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation.

Buckley met the requirements for the fifth year-in-a-row and Keith Woods from Colorado State Community Forests -- who presented the base with their first award in 2004 -- presented the award to Colonel Zemotel.

"As a part of your growth you're putting in that 'green infrastructure,' that green component, and taking advantage of the natural resources out here, a great component of the Tree City USA program," said Mr. Woods.

The base environmental office has also pruned trees at Lake Williams, led the way on the base's xeriscaping projects and planted and relocated trees to preserve Buckley's natural resources.

"It's a great investment to our natural assets and adds to our green infrastructure and quality of life," said Krystal Phillips, USFWS Fish and Wildlife Biologist.
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