Tree City USA: Greening Wisconsin communities for over 40 years

Since 1976, Tree City USA has been a catalyst for community tree care and a powerful force for promoting urban forestry. This program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) and administered in Wisconsin by the DNR, provides communities with a tangible goal and national recognition for their community forestry efforts. Today, over 3,400 communities fly Tree City USA flags over areas that house more than 143 million Americans. Wisconsin has over 190 Tree City USAs, ranking it second in the nation!

At the heart of the Tree City USA program are four basic requirements. The community must have: a tree board or department, an annual community forestry program backed by an expenditure of at least $2 per capita for trees and tree care, an annual Arbor Day proclamation and observance, and a tree care ordinance. In addition, communities that have achieved Tree City USA certification can strive for a growth award that recognizes effort over and above the four standards. Typically around 25 Wisconsin communities achieve this commendation each year.

A 2018 summary by ADF provides the following statistics on Wisconsin’s Tree City USAs:

  • 78% of Wisconsin lives in a Tree City USA
  • $48,691,125.37 was spent on urban forestry management ($14.19 average per capita)
  • 32,930 trees were planted

In addition to Tree City USA, ADF hosts several other programs that recognize the urban forestry efforts of organizations such as campuses and utility lines. These programs include Tree Campus USA, Tree Campus Healthcare, Tree Campus K-12, and Tree Line USA. New in 2019, ADF’s Tree Cities of the World recognizes cities and towns all across the globe that care for and celebrate their urban tree canopy.

To apply for these programs, contact your regional Wisconsin DNR urban forestry coordinator.

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