Communities and universities can get free tree seedlings through a state program.

Courtesy image.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a proclamation declaring March Arbor Month and the second Friday in March is recognized as Arbor Day in the Land of Enchantment. This year Arbor Day is March 11.

To celebrate Arbor Month, the state Forestry Division will be providing 50 tree seedlings to cities or universities and colleges that apply and commit to conducting an Arbor Day Celebration, according to a state press release. Applications are on the Forestry Division website.

“To highlight the importance of New Mexico’s urban trees and forests, the Forestry Division is also encouraging residents to commit to helping to reverse climate change and mitigate its impacts by planting and caring for trees in their yards and neighborhoods,” according to the release. “When planting a new tree in an urban area, the species should be water-efficient and appropriate for the local conditions.”

The ClimateReady Tree List, created by The Nature Conservancy for the City of Albuquerque, can help guide plantings. The list includes drought-tolerant trees and shrubs best suited for changing conditions.

“Urban forests provide many benefits that are important to all communities,” said Alyssa O’Brien, Urban and Community Forestry program manager. “Trees can help reduce air and noise pollution, prevent soil erosion, filter stormwater runoff, lower home heating and cooling costs and even improve mental and physical health.”

To learn how the Urban and Community Forestry Program can help your community, contact O’Brien at alyssa.o’brien@state.nm.us.