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Tree City USA - Overview

Tree City USA winners with banner

What is Tree City USA
Tree City USA is a national program sponsored by The Arbor Day Foundation and administered in North Carolina by the North Carolina Forest Service. The Tree City USA program provides direction, technical assistance, public education, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities across America. North Carolina currently has 70 Tree City USA communities.

How does a community become a Tree City USA?
To qualify for Tree City USA status, a town or city must meet four standards established by The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. These standards were established to ensure that every qualifying community would have a viable tree management plan and program, and were designed so that no community would be excluded because of size.

What are the standards?

  • A Tree Board or Department - The community has a volunteer tree board, commission, or city department with legal responsibility for the care of public trees. The tree board or commission is charged by an ordinance with developing and administering a comprehensive tree management program.
  • A Tree Care Ordinance - A municipal tree ordinance designates the establishment of a tree board or department and gives this body the responsibility for developing and implementing a community forestry work plan. The tree care ordinance provides clear guidance for planting, acceptable pruning practices, maintenance and removal of trees from streets, parks and other public places.
  • A Community Forestry Budget of at Least $2 Per Capita - Evidence is required that the community has established a community forestry program that is supported by an annual budget of at least $2 per capita. This may seem like an impossible barrier to small communities, but a little investigation usually shows that more than this amount is already being spent by the community on its trees.
  • An Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation - This is the least challenging and probably the most enjoyable standard to accomplish. The community issues a mayoral (or equivalent) Arbor Day proclamation and sponsors or participates in an Arbor Day observance. The celebration can be a simple tree planting event or an all-week observance.
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This page updated Monday, November 18, 2013 12:36