Now more than ever, trees and forests are a vital component of healthy, livable, and sustainable communities, in the U.S. and around the globe. Along with its partners such as the Wisconsin DNR, the Arbor Day Foundation is seeking ways to link together those that plant and tend urban trees and forests for the benefit of humankind.
In 2019, the Foundation launched three new recognition programs to appeal to three different audiences, three different owners and managers of urban greenspace:
- Like the Tree City USA program that inspired it, Tree Cities of the World will recognize cities and towns all across the globe that care for and celebrate their urban tree canopy. With the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as its global partner, this international recognition will link city tree managers that are leading the way in the practice of urban & community forestry.
- Tree canopy is a critical component of community health infrastructure — but urban tree cover is shrinking, and its health benefits are not often equitably distributed. Tree Campus Healthcare recognizes healthcare institutions that make a mission-aligned impact on community wellness through tree education, investment, and community engagement.
- Tree Campus K–12 is designed to inspire the next generation of tree stewards through experiences that bring the benefits of trees to life both inside and outside the classroom. The program fosters positive connections between youth and the trees in their community and cultivates within its participants a lifelong respect for trees on a global scale.
Through positive recognition for annually meeting core standards or goals, we hope to build a global network of community-centered schools, healthcare facilities, and cities that will share best practices and lead the way towards more sustainable urban trees and forests.
The deadline for 2020 applications for Tree Cities of the World and Tree Campus Healthcare will be December 31, 2020, and the deadline for applications for Tree Campus K-12 will be the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
If your community is already a Tree City USA, consider applying for Tree City of the World status at the same time (yes, you can participate in both recognition programs simultaneously)! But take note: the requirements for the two programs are somewhat different. Also, please let your contacts at K-12 schools and health care facilities know about the two new Tree Campus recognition programs.