Sixty people from twenty-nine Tree City communities, one Tree Line and six Tree Campuses gathered at the SKY Armory in Syracuse on March 21, 2024 for the annual NYSDEC Recognition Event to honor Arbor Day Foundation awardees.

The weather was chilly but the event was warm and full of voices, as communities shared what they are most proud of about their achievements in the past year.

Each spring, DEC hosts a group of Tree Campus, Line and City representatives to recognize and celebrate their work and to encourage some peer-to-peer discourse between community leaders. The luncheon event includes congratulating awardees, educational presentations and raffle prizes.

This year, attendees heard from City of Syracuse’s Clare Carney and Jeff Romano about the city’s efforts to build a tree team, and the addition of an “arboritect” — an arborist architect — to the team.

Other communities highlighted their tree plantings, week-long Arbor Day celebrations and the passing of new tree ordinances. DEC Forest Health Specialist Maria MoskaLee  gave attendees a forest health update, reminding the audience about the importance of reporting potential tree pathogens to the forest health lab. She also reported on recent developments regarding beech leaf disease, elm zigzag sawfly, and spotted lanternfly.

It was a great opportunity for communities to connect with other tree people and get inspired ahead of the busy Arbor Day season in April!