GOSHEN — Plans to increase the city’s tree canopy to 45 percent by 2045 took on practical meaning this weekend at the Goshen Arbor Day celebration.

“The city currently has about 22 percent canopy cover, so to double that to 45 percent, it’s going to be about 2,000 trees per year,” said Greg Imbur, a member of the Goshen Tree Board.

The city is asking for help from nonprofits as well as public-private partnerships to meet its goal.

“It’s an ambitious goal, but we really think we can do it,” Imbur said. “There will be plantings at the schools, in neighborhoods, I know there is a food forest in the works at one of the parks.”

Goshen is known as a Tree City, along with Elkhart, and has been for 28 years.

Tree City, a designation given by the Arbor Day Foundation, has several characteristics which allow and encourage growth, education and maintenance of a community’s trees.

“I love a lawn as much as the next person, but I am already planting more trees,” Imbur said. “I live near a park so when I want a lawn to play soccer, I go there.”

Imbur, other members of Goshen Park Board and local environmental advocates are encouraging Goshen residents to plant more trees and native species in their own yards and community gathering spaces.

NIPSCO even brought free pine trees to the Arbor Day celebration to pass out to help get people started.

“This is a time of year when it signals to people that it’s a good time to plant trees,” Imbur said. “Winter is essentially done and trees need to get their roots down before the hot weather of July and August comes.”

Many other organizations came out to support the cause and teach Goshen residents about sustainability and the world around them.

Groups that attended the event included Trees for Goshen, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, the Elkhart Environmental Center, the Elkhart County Soil and Water Conservation District and Elkhart County Parks Department.

There was also face painting, magic and music.

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