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USDA Leader Joins Tree Planting at John Lewis Flowering Forest on the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day

date 04/29/22

For more information, contact

Jeff Salem, Director of Communications & Public Relations,   email

ATLANTA, Georgia (April 29, 2022) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Meryl Harrell, joined Trees Atlanta and the Arbor Day Foundation to plant more than 30 trees in the John Lewis Flowering Forest to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day.

“For the past 150 years, Arbor Day has been a time for people to appreciate the positive impact trees have on people and the planet,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We are encouraged by the leadership here today and our partners like Trees Atlanta and everyone involved in the tree-planting movement who took time today to appreciate trees and view them as a solution to some of the planet’s most pressing issues.”

The location was fitting for the planting as the late Congressman Lewis was known for planting seeds of hope and equity while weaving his appreciation for nature and community throughout his speeches. Red buckeye and magnolia trees were intentionally chosen for the planting as they display a series of colorful blooms along John Lewis Freedom Parkway and reduce the urban heat island effect and prevent pollution.

"As a member of Alliance for Community Trees, an Arbor Day Foundation program that supports local tree organizations like Trees Atlanta, we are excited to be a part of today's significant celebration," said Greg Levine, co-executive director and chief program officer of Trees Atlanta. "This is a big day for trees. Let's make it more than a one-day holiday, we should celebrate and plant trees every day."

Since 1985, Trees Atlanta has planted and cared for more than 150,000 trees in metro Atlanta. It has grown to become one of Atlanta’s most widely recognized and supported nonprofits focused on protecting and improving Atlanta’s urban forest. The city of Atlanta has been a recognized Tree City USA community for 36 years. The recognition is awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation to cities who meet four overarching standards that demonstrate their commitment to the environment and wellbeing among residents.

This year’s 150th Arbor Day is especially meaningful as it is also the 50th anniversary of the Arbor Day Foundation. The organization is using the anniversaries this week to announce its commitment to plant 500 million trees in the next five years with a focus in neighborhoods and forests of greatest need.


About the Arbor Day Foundation

Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters and valued partners. Since 1972, almost 500 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to lead toward a world where trees are used to solve issues critical to survival.  

As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at

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