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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

September 18, 2000


Sally J. Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


PROVIDENCE - As part of a national celebration of American history and the environment, the Department of Environmental Management, in partnership with the White House Millennium Council and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), has made arrangements for 100 famous and historic tree seedlings to be available to Rhode Island and its municipalities.

DEM's Division of Forest Environment has sent a certificate to each community and to the Narragansett Indian Tribe, redeemable for a seedling from a stock of historic trees. The stocks come from the seeds of trees that are direct descendents of those planted by George Washington, John Chapman, (aka Johnny Appleseed), and other notable historical figures.

The program, called Millennium Green, was conceived by the USDA to raise public awareness about the importance of trees in cities, and to help communities re-establish robust, green ecosystems. DEM Director Jan Reitsma said, "We are very pleased to be part of this national program. Our Urban and Community Forestry Program has been working hard to improve the livability of our cities and has assisted communities throughout the state through tree planting efforts. The Millennium program offers an intriguing and symbolic approach to engaging the interest of Rhode Islanders in the importance of trees to the health and welfare of our communities."

Although each community can choose a seedling from among several suitable for this planting zone - such as Gilbert Stuart Dogwood, Martin Luther King Sycamore, Johnny Appleseed Apple, and Tidal Basin Japanese Cherry - DEM is recommending the Nathan Hale Red Oak. According to Thomas Dupree, Chief of DEM's Division of Forest Environment, that tree grows well in Rhode Island, has few problems with insects and diseases, and "will grow to be a large stately tree that would complement any public building or area."

For more information on the Millennium Green Program, communities should contact Paul Dolan of DEM's Division of Forest Environment at 568-2013.

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