The city of Merrill celebrated its 31st year as a Tree City USA with a tree planting at Stange’s Park Friday.
Eighth grade students from Prairie River Middle School joined DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Don Kissinger, Merrill Parks & Recreation Director Dan Wendorf, Mayor Bill Bialecki and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Jean Ravn in observing the occasion. After a short educational presentation, the students helped plant eight new trees along Third Street, including spring snow crab, Japanese tree lilac, river birch and pin oak.
The Tree City USA program, established by the Arbor Day Foundation, has been in existence for 41 years. The program recognizes city for meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.
In 2016, the city of Merrill planted 113 trees, pruned 84 and removed 68. Some of the trees removed were ash trees, taken out as a pre-emptive measure against the imminent arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer.