Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker, left, and City Arborist Andy Parker receive the city’s 27th designation markers for the Tree City USA award from Misty Booth, the Mississippi Forestry Commission’s Urban Forestry Coordinator. Booth oversees the Tree City USA program in Mississippi.

As the City of Hattiesburg was presented its 27th annual Tree City USA award during a ceremony Friday, Aug. 2, a state forestry officials praised the Hub City for its urban forestry program.

Misty Booth, the Mississippi Forestry Commission’s Urban Forestry Coordinator, presented Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker and City Arborist Andy Parker markers to show the city had been named Tree City USA for the 27th year.

Todd Matthews of the Mississippi Forestry Commission praised Hattiesburg’s efforts in its urban forestry program.

“Hattiesburg is absolutely setting a precedent as far as urban forestry goes in Mississippi,” he said. “We have other cities that have urban forestry programs, but Hattiesburg is by far leading in a lot of areas. Hats off to you; y’all are getting it done.”

Booth said receiving the Tree City USA designation takes hard work.

“That really is a testament to their investment in their urban resource management,” she said.” Tree City USA involves a lot more than just signing up; there’s stuff you’ve got to do. You have to have a tree ordinance, a tree advisory board, an Arbor Day celebration, and you have to spend money per capita as an investment in your urban forest.”

Barker said the city would keep emphasizing its urban forestry program.

“We are excited about this recognition and we are going to continue to work toward this designation,” he said.

The two-hour presentation described the benefits from healthy trees in an urban environment.

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