Home News Ohio’s 88 Counties to Witness Commemorative Tree Planting for ODNR’s 75th Anniversary

Ohio’s 88 Counties to Witness Commemorative Tree Planting for ODNR’s 75th Anniversary


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry is set to orchestrate a significant commemorative tree planting across each of Ohio’s 88 counties this spring, marking a tribute to ODNR’s 75th anniversary. The initiative will see the majority of trees take root in April, leading up to Arbor Day on April 26.

Governor Mike DeWine remarked, “ODNR is celebrating 75 years of conservation all year long, and these tree plantings are a great way to emphasize the work the Division of Forestry has done over its history. These trees, which are native to Ohio, symbolize the importance of Ohio’s forests.”

The Division of Forestry within ODNR spearheads this endeavor, selecting hardwood trees indigenous to Ohio, including oak, maple, and sycamore. These sapling-sized trees will bear a distinctive ODNR 75th anniversary commemorative sign.

Ohio’s landscape has undergone significant changes over the centuries. Once approximately 95% forested before European settlement, the state’s forest cover dwindled to about 10% at the turn of the century, only to rebound to roughly 30% forest cover in the new millennium.

“The Division of Forestry has been with the department ever since ODNR was created and has a rich history that extends beyond 1949,” commented ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “The fact that forest cover has grown over the last 75 years is a testament to what this division can do.”

For 75 years, ODNR has been at the forefront of safeguarding Ohio’s geological features, wildlife, waters, and forests. Forestry was among the original seven divisions forming ODNR in 1949, underlining the significance of Ohio forests. Presently, with ODNR’s backing, the Division of Forestry manages over 200,000 acres across 24 state forests. Additionally, it supports landowners and local entities in managing trees and woodlands statewide.

Dan Balser, Chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry, expressed delight in commemorating this historic milestone, stating, “As these trees grow, we can reflect on the benefits all Ohio trees provide such as clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, and sustainable forest products.”

Trees play a vital role in Ohio’s ecosystem, shielding air, soil, and water, providing habitat for wildlife, and furnishing essential wood products. In urban areas, they mitigate temperatures, reduce noise, curb water runoff, absorb pollutants, and enhance the urban ambiance, thereby enhancing Ohioans’ mental and physical well-being.

As part of the ODNR Division of Forestry’s comprehensive plan, the 88-county tree planting initiative underscores the significance of recognizing and preserving trees. With spring serving as a poignant reminder of this importance, Ohioans are encouraged to participate actively in protecting and expanding the state’s trees and forested areas through sustainable management practices, ensuring vibrant and healthy forests for generations to come.

For more information on the ODNR Division of Forestry’s 88-county tree planting plan, visit their website. Some planting locations are yet to be determine