Congratulations, Gays Mills! The village with a population of 502 was recognized in a recent Tree City USA (TCUSA) bulletin for being our nation’s smallest current TCUSA Growth Award community.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “the Tree City USA Growth Award program is an innovative way to encourage communities of all sizes to — as the name implies — grow their tree care programs beyond basic expectations.” Points are awarded to communities who take part in a variety of activities in five categories: A) building the team, B) measuring trees and forests, C) planning the work, D) performing the work and E) the community framework.
In 2019, 341 communities earned a Growth Award in the U.S., including 17 in Wisconsin: Gays Mills, Grand Chute, Greenfield, Janesville, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Oconomowoc, Racine, River Falls, Shawano, Sheboygan, Shorewood, Slinger, Watertown, Waukesha and West Allis.
For an example of this point system, Gays Mills documented the following projects in categories B and D in its application for a 2020 Growth Award:
- B5 – Management Inventory System: Gays Mills purchased a tablet to record and manipulate inventory data and paid for a 3-year TreePlotter subscription to manage the inventory. (7 points)
- D1 – New Tree Planting Program: The village provided free trees with calipers of at least 1.25″ to landowners who had trees removed through our cost-sharing program or just following recommendations because of tree condition. When replacement trees were not wanted on the private property where the removal had occurred, the replacement trees were offered and planted on other private or public lands. (8 points)
A minimum of 10 points is needed to qualify for a Growth Award (Gays Mills’ activities are worth 15). To learn more about the Growth Award program, click here.
Please consider applying for a Growth Award next year! And if your population is less than 502, you just might become our nation’s new smallest Growth Award recipient.