Sheboygan: Wisconsin’s First Tree City Of The World

By Tim Bull, City of Sheboygan Forester, and
Olivia Witthun, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator, or 414-750-8744

The City of Sheboygan has done it again. Not only do they hold the honor of being Wisconsin’s first Tree City USA back in 1976, but they are now also Wisconsin’s first community earning Tree Cities of the WORLD status! They are one of only 120 cities currently recognized, sharing the stage with San Francisco, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Brussels and Milan, to name a few.

Tree Cities of the World is an Arbor Day Foundation program that provides international recognition to cities and towns across the globe. The program is very similar to Tree City USA, which many of you are already familiar with. Tree Cities of the World requires an annual, no-cost application each year with five standards that need to be met annually. Four of those are the same standards as Tree City USA. The fifth standard is one many Wisconsin communities have already met, a current tree inventory or assessment. This ensures the community has the data necessary for long-term planning and management. This recognition is a testament to a community’s commitment to building a healthy city, now and for the future.

Sheboygan’s tree crew is comprised of a city forester and four arborists who maintain about 20,000 trees. Sheboygan has a long history of keeping its urban forest maintenance a high priority, and that is more true today than ever. Over the last few years, Sheboygan has upgraded its tree inventory software and replaced almost all of its large forestry equipment. They have also successfully kept on track with an emerald ash borer management plan, which has prevented the loss of 2,400 ash trees throughout the city through in-house treatment efforts. In 2022, a newly constructed gravel bed system will be used for the first time which will accelerate replanting efforts with its potential to hold over 500 trees. In 2022, Sheboygan plans to start the trend of planting more trees annually than it removes, doing so by planting the right tree in the right place.

Step up and join Sheboygan by becoming a Tree City of the World! Celebrate your trees and show the world what an amazing community you are.

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