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Division of Forestry celebrates ODNR’s 75th anniversary by planting trees in all of Ohio’s 88 counties

Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Press Release

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry will be coordinating a commemorative tree planting in each of Ohio’s 88 counties this spring. This tree planting initiative is to honor ODNR’s 75th anniversary. The majority of the trees will be planted in April leading up to Arbor Day on April 26.

“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,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “These trees, which are native to Ohio, symbolize the importance of Ohio’s forests.”

The Division of Forestry in ODNR is leading this effort and has selected hardwood trees native to Ohio, including oak, maple and sycamore. The trees will be sapling size and marked with an ODNR 75th anniversary commemorative sign.

Ohio was approximately 95-percent forested prior to European settlement, reached a low of around 10-percent forested at the turn of the century and has rebounded to about 30-percent forest cover in this 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,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “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 protected Ohio’s geological features, mineral resources, wildlife, waters, native species, trees and forests. In recognition of the importance of Ohio forests, Forestry was one of the original seven divisions to join the newly formed ODNR in 1949. Today, with the support of ODNR, the Division of Forestry manages more than 200,000 acres in 24 state forests. The Ohio Division of Forestry also supports landowners and local entities to manage trees and woodlands across the state.

“We are pleased to be able to celebrate this historic milestone for ODNR with the planting of these trees,” said Dan Balser, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “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 are vital to our ecosystem and our way of life in Ohio. They protect our air, our soil and our water. They provide habitat for our wildlife and produce wood products we need for our homes and daily lives. Trees are beneficial in urban and forested areas alike. In cities, these trees lower temperatures, reduce noise, prevent water runoff, absorb pollutants, and improve the urban aesthetic – benefiting Ohioans’ mental and physical health.

See the ODNR Division of Forestry’s 88-county tree planting plan at…. Some locations are still to be determined.

Spring is a great time to recognize the importance of the planting, upkeep and protection of trees. In Ohio, Arbor Day and Earth Day are celebrated every year in the spring, helping Ohioans remember they can do their part in helping us to protect and grow Ohio’s trees and forested areas throughout the state with sustainable active management that ensures productive and healthy trees and forests for all.

The Ohio Division of Forestry promotes the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit Follow ODNR on Facebook and on Instagram @odnrforestry.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

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