MT VERNON, Ohio –
Defense Supply Center Columbus was named a Tree City USA for the fourth consecutive year at the annual Tree City USA Awards Presentation on April 21 in the Schnormeier Event Center in Ariel-Foundation Park in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. The all-day event was attended by representatives from 45 communities across 15 counties in Central Ohio.
“During the ceremony it was really nice to applaud our fellow Tree City USA communities and amazing to see that some were members for over forty years,” said DSCC Environmental Protection Division Chief Nicole Goicochea. “This is also an opportunity to learn from our fellow communities by celebrating ways that they have improved their operations through the program. We can also form partnerships that can benefit both of us."
The day’s events included tours of the Ariel Foundation Park after several speeches by local officials with a keynote by Amy Henricksen, project coordinator of the Philander Chase Conservancy and steward of the Kokosing Nature Preserve. Attendees enjoyed a boxed lunch with awards and Tree City USA designations given out in the afternoon after remarks by Alistar Reynolds, the Central Ohio Regional Urban Forester with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.
Ariel-Foundation Park is one of the best examples of adaptive reuse in the state. Created on the grounds of a former glass plate factory, the 250-acre site offers architectural ruins, a river of glass made of old glass pieces from the factory, a pollinator garden, an arboretum, the Tree of Life Labyrinth, the Rastin Observation Tower, several lakes, multiple sculptural mounds or terraces, walking trails, a forested area, river crossings, steel sculptures, a museum, the event center and connections to both the Kokosing Gap Trail and the Heart of Ohio Trail.
“Everyone was impressed with the lovely grounds that blended architecture, history and nature. The lookout point [Rastin Observation Tower] was also very breathtaking,” Goicochea said. “The stewardship of utilizing the waste glass as part of the art and beauty of the park was a very nice touch to tie everything together.”
Tree City USA is one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s oldest programs and helps communities with the direction, assistance and recognition of growing and maintaining healthy tree canopies. ODNR administers all Tree City, Tree Line and Tree Campus programs in the state on behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, trees provide many benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. In addition to improving neighborhood aesthetics, trees generally increase property values, reduce cooling costs, reduce air pollution and provide natural habitat for a variety of wildlife.
Larger caliper trees are being planted at the DSCC MWR Sports Park in the next few weeks to further develop DSCC’s urban forest. Last year DSCC collaborated with the City of Columbus and the Urban Tree Project in the planting of 50 native saplings around the grounds of the Sports Park.
The annual DSCC Arbor Day Celebration will take place at the Sports Park on May 20 at 10:30 a.m. and will include celebrating the newly planted trees, the reading of the 2022 Arbor Day Proclamation and a brief discussion on the importance of the Tree City USA program.