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

For Release: April 11, 2014
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402


PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that the Rhode Island Arbor Day ceremony will be held this year on Friday, April 25 at Meeting Street located at 1000 Eddy Street in Providence.

The 10 a.m. event will include a speaking program, an Arbor Day presentation by Meeting Street Early Learning Center students, announcement of the National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA community designations, and the planting of three Northern Red Oak trees and one Stewardia pseudocamellia on the grounds.

The program will also include the award of 12 America the Beautiful grants, which will result in the planting of over 115 trees throughout much of the state. This year's grants, totaling $30,000 and matched by $55,225 in local funds, will be used for planting, pruning, educational programs and outreach, street tree hazard assessments, and invasive plant removal. In the past 22 years, DEM's Division of Forest Environment has awarded more than $2 million in America the Beautiful grants, matched by over $3.4 million in local funds.

"Arbor Day provides an opportunity to educate residents about the effects trees have in reducing air pollution, protecting the water supply, providing recreational opportunities, and enhancing the beauty and quality of our beautiful state," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "As Rhode Islanders, we are so fortunate that more than half of our state is forested – more than double what it was a century ago."

This year's Arbor Day celebration will add needed shade and increase tree canopy cover at Meeting Street's nearly nine-acre campus and custom-designed, 76,000 square foot building that has made it possible to strengthen and expand the educational, therapeutic and diagnostic services provided to over 3,000 children and their families each year.

"We are pleased to serve as the setting for this year's Arbor Day celebration," said John M. Kelly, President of Meeting Street. Kelly added, "Meeting Street has been committed to urban green initiatives for many years; our new facility is the first LEED certification for a K-12 program in the state of Rhode Island and more than 40 percent of our campus is dedicated to green space."

Friday's Arbor Day tree planting is a prelude to an Arbor Day Fair that will be held on Saturday, April 26 at Snake Den Farm in Johnston, where the RI Tree Council will be planting 30 trees with the help of volunteers. To learn how to volunteer at the fair, visit

The conservation of trees as a valuable natural resource also serves to enhance environmental quality in Rhode Island by stabilizing soils, absorbing pollutants, enhancing property values, reducing noise and visual pollution, providing protection from the sun by reducing glare, reducing the heat island effect by shading buildings and parking lots, and enhancing the aesthetics and general quality of life in the state. 2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Society of Municipal Arborists. These professionals help the state's cities and towns promote and maintain our community forestry resources.


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