The City of Sunrise has proudly held the Tree City USA title since 1988!
The Tree City USA® program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 135 million Americans call home.
Participating in the Tree City USA® program provides our City a foundation for citywide tree care and programs.
For over 30 years, the City of Sunrise has continued to meet the four standards established by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters:
- A Tree Board or Department. The City employs several individuals to focus on trees. We have a full-time City Forester in the Community Development Department to focus on tree permitting and related issues, staff who maintain the City's trees in our Public Works Division, and Leisure Services Department. The leisure services advisory board is designated as the tree board for the City of Sunrise.
- A Community Tree Ordinance. Sunrise has passed multiple ordinances to set policy, protect and expand our tree population, and back it with the force of law when necessary.
- A Community Forestry Program with an Annual Budget of at Least $2 Per Capita (based on population). The City has a plan that addresses species diversity, planting needs, hazardous trees, insect and disease problems and a pattern of regular care. We supplement our own plantings with a robust program of tree giveaways and public education. In 2020, Sunrise launched the Plant It Forward Program.
- An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation. Each year, the City holds an Arbor Day celebration at our Sunrise Earth Day Festival which typically also includes a free plant giveaway. For the last decade, ceremonies have included planting trees at Sawgrass Sanctuary Preserve. Recent tree species planted include:
- 2020 - Cinnecord (Acacia choriophylla) - the cinnecord is a small to medium sized tree. It is native to Florida and is an endangered species. The tree provides food and cover for wildlife, and attracts butterflies and birds. As a garden plant, it is an attractive choice because of its dark green leaves, yellow puff-like flowers and lack of spines; it can serve as an accent or specimen tree and is ideal for a native plant garden.
- 2019 - Cinnamon Bark (Canella winterana)
- 2018 - Green Buttonwood (Conocarpus Erectus)
- 2017 - Dahoon Holly (Ilex Cassine)
- 2016 - Pitch Apple (Clusia rosea)
- 2015 - Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
- 2014 - Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
The Benefits of Urban Trees
The benefits of urban trees are many: beautification, reduction of the urban heat island effect, reduction of stormwater runoff, reduction of air pollution, reduction of energy costs through increased shade over buildings, enhancement of property values, improved wildlife habitat, and mitigation of overall urban environmental impact. More Benefits of Trees
The presence of urban trees reduces stress, and trees have long been seen to benefit our health. The shade of trees makes a place for people to meet and socialize. Proper planning and community involvement are important for the positive results to be realized.
Urban trees provide nesting sites and food for birds and other animals. People appreciate watching, feeding, photographing, and painting urban trees. Urban trees and wildlife help people maintain their connection with nature.
What is an Urban Forest?
An urban forest is a collection of naturally occurring or planted trees that grow within our city. In a wider sense it may include any kind of woody plants growing in and around our community. In a narrower sense it describes areas whose ecosystems are inherited from wilderness leftovers. Care and management of urban forests is known as urban forestry.
Urban forests play an important role for us in many ways: they filter air, water, sunlight; provide shelter to animals; and recreational areas for people. Urban forests moderate local climate, slow wind and stormwater, and shade homes and businesses to conserve energy. They are critical in cooling the urban heat island effect, thus potentially reducing the number of unhealthful ozone days that plague us in peak summer months.