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Arbor Day: Foresters across government levels encourage tree planting

Katie Thoresen

Wisconsin is home to nearly 17 million acres of forest land that spans federal, state, and county land.

It provides jobs, recreation, and a healthy environment.

“The Northwoods continues to have this legacy of loving trees, loving open spaces. Whether it's from a recreation component, a fishing component, or a hardwood harvesting component, I think that's something that everyone can appreciate about our beautiful spaces here in the Northwoods,” said Sitka Pence. She’s the deputy forest supervisor for the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest.

Katie Thoresen

Pence along with the Chief State Forester, Oneida County Forester, and the Rhinelander City Forester gathered on Arbor Day to plant some trees at the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest Headquarters in Rhinelander.

The pine and oak trees replaced ash trees that were killed off by Emerald Ash Borer.

“We have different changes to our environment. Certain tree species are becoming more stressed. This winter is a good example of not having a lot of snow, and last year, I think folks might remember the smoke we got from the Canadian fires. As we have changes to our environment, it's good for us to diversify the species that we have,” said Pence.

The foresters all encouraged people to plant their own trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that just 25 mature trees can help remove as much as 13 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

They each talked about the importance of working across all governments to sustain healthy forests.

“I think it really is important that we all send the same message to the people we work with. Whether you're in the city or rural parts of the state, whether you recreate, everybody needs to hear the same message that trees are important, they’re part of our environment, and they really are part of sustaining human life even,” said Rhinelander City Forester Tom Jerow.

The city planted more than 100 trees last year to replace ones that had been taken out by construction or disease. Jerow says they’re applying for additional grants to plant more.

Last week, the Governor announced the state was upping its goal to plant 100 million trees by 2030.

“Working together on that same purpose and mission, leveraging each other's expertise, as well as resources and investments only enhances our ability to put more into protecting and sustaining our resource,” said Heather Berklund, the DNR Chief State Forester. “Whether it's the one tree in your backyard or planting 100 trees, every tree counts, and every tree is important and will benefit you and all of us.”

The Forest Service planted several trees at its headquarters in Rhinelander, including some white pines that were grown from seed in the USDA Forest Service J.W. Toumey Nursery in the Ottawa National Forest.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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