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Fort Stewart earns tree city designation
From left: Fort Stewart/HAAF Directorate of Public Works forestry technician Bob McCarty, forestry supervisor T. J. Quarles, forestry branch Chief Jeff Mangun, Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin unveil the installation’s new Tree City USA sign Wednesday. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
Soldiers are tree huggers, too. Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield was recently designated a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation.
“Fort Stewart/HAAF was awarded the Tree City USA designation in 2009 for the first time ever,” Directorate of Public Works Forestry Branch Chief Jeff Mangun said. “To qualify, a community has to meet four guidelines.”
These standards were established by The Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters so that no community would be excluded from the tree city program because of size, according to
Mangun said to become a tree city, communities must establish a tree board or department, draft a tree care ordinance, institute a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and observe Arbor Day with a ceremony and proclamation. The garrison observed Arbor Day last year by publicly reading a proclamation and planting an American dogwood tree on Dec. 10, 2009, with the help of Diamond Elementary School fourth-graders.
“There is not a designated day for Stewart-Hunter Arbor Day,” Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said. “The day will vary from year to year depending on climatic factors.”
Larson added there are benefits to being a Tree City USA member, such as educational opportunities, a positive public image and citizen pride.  
“Our urban forests do matter,” Mangun said. “Trees clean our air, provide shade and are aesthetically pleasing.”
He said a single, mature oak tree “has as much cooling power as 15 air conditioning units.” A tree can lower hot temperatures in a city by 5-10 degrees, Mangun stated.
The forestry branch chief added there has been scientific documentation to support that hospital patients with window views of trees heal faster than those patients whose rooms offer views of a cement parking lot.
“The goal of this partnership is to remind people that trees not only provide wood to build and warm our homes, food for people and animals, but also are an integral part of the life of our planet, giving us the very air we breathe,” Larson said.
On Wednesday, Fort Stewart/HAAF Directorate of Public Works forestry technician Bob McCarty, forestry supervisor T. J. Quarles, forestry branch chief Jeff Mangun, garrison commander Col. Kevin Milton and garrison command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin unveiled the installation’s new Tree City USA sign. The sign stands on the grassy median that separates busy lanes of traffic coming and going through the installation’s front gate.
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