The Arbor Day Foundation has named Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative a 2021 Tree Line USA® recipient in honor of its commitment to proper tree pruning, planting and care for the seventh year in a row.
Tree Line USA, a partnership between the Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes public and private utilities for pursuing practices that protect and enhance America's urban trees. Tree Line USA promotes the dual goals of delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community forests.
Ray DeJarnette, arborist and manager of vegetation services for MEC, states, “Although Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative prides itself in the maintenance of its rights of way and successful vegetation management practices, our mission is to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity that is environmentally friendly, and with that mission, comes the responsibility of caring for and protecting the air we breathe, the water we use, the preservation of wildlife, and the cultivation and management of all vegetation. Improving the quality of life for our members requires a healthy balance between maintenance and preservation.”
“Trees are a critical part of urban landscapes all across the United States,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “They provide important benefits to residents, including clean air, clean water and a tolerable climate. Service providers like Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative demonstrate that it’s possible for trees and utilities to co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens.”
Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative earned certification as a Tree Line USA Utility by meeting five program standards. Utilities must follow industry guidelines for quality tree care; provide annual worker training in best tree care practices; sponsor a tree planting and public education program; maintain a tree-based energy conservation program; and participate in an Arbor Day celebration.
John C. Lee, Jr., president and CEO, comments, “Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is honored to have been recognized, yet again, for our commitment to best practices in tree-care. Trees are, far and away, the most significant challenge to maintaining reliable electric service in rural areas. They are beautiful, support wildlife and provide shade and comfort, but they can be an electric system’s worst nightmare during major weather events, such as ice storms and hurricanes…and we have both. The long-term benefits of this balance between maintenance and preservation means our members, and our communities, will have greater access to clean air and water and a more sustainable climate for many years to come. As a member-owned electric cooperative, it is our duty and honor to ensure a better life for our members, and this recognition, although only one of many, is a way we can ensure we are doing everything we can to fulfil our mission.”
More information about Tree Line USA can be found at www.arborday.org/TreeLineUSA(link is external).
About Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Its recent launch of the Time for Trees(link is external) initiative marks an unprecedented effort to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspire 5 million tree planters by 2022. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org