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Green News - Feature Article

Tree City, USA

New Tree City USA - First of its kind

Members of the Blackfeet Nation and partner agencies gathered  for a ceremonial tree planting and celebration recognizing the Blackfeet Nation as the first Tribal Nation to be designated as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

“The designation of being a Tree City USA is a point of pride for the Blackfeet Nation,” said Termaine Edmo, Environmental Advisor for the Blackfeet Nation. “We are dedicated to caring for our forested resources for the good of our community.”

Tree City USA is a program of the National Arbor Day Foundation with local partners through the USDA Forest Service and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Forestry Division.

Members of the Blackfeet Nation recognize trees as having cultural and community importance providing many benefits including opportunities for community interaction through planting and maintenance, cultural education, volunteerism, economic development, and environmental conservation.

The Tribe dedicated the tree planting in honor of Chief Earl Old Person and his legacy of conservation and promoting the Tribal Nations in Montana and beyond.

“Chief Old Person fostered an understanding that we are keepers of the land. He provided an example to us all of how we can and should be dedicated to our natural resources. We are continuing his legacy with the conservation and cultural plantings we are doing here today,” said Edmo.

The day’s events also included a planting workshop followed by a restoration planting of 700 seedlings in the Willow Creek area with the support of DNRC staff, Blackfeet Manpower, local groups, and volunteers.

“The restoration planting and dedication ceremony kicked off a long-term plan to invest in trees for the community,” said Jamie Kirby, DNRC Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator.

Kirby partnered with the Tribe to secure grant funding through the Trees for Tribal Communities Landscape Scale Restoration Grant – a State and Private Forestry grant program through the USDA Forest Service.

“Through our partnership and funding, we are honoring the cultural and spiritual connection the Blackfeet people have to the land by supporting conservation,” said Kirby. “We look forward to continuing our work with the Blackfeet Nation and other Tribes across Montana.”

In addition to the ceremonial tree planting and restoration project, over 600 trees were given to local community members.

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