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Tree City USA: A Foundation For Better Tree Care

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Published on: Sep. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 27, 2010

the four standards described here.

These standards create the basic components necessary for a viable and successful community forestry program, and they give trees status in the community. The Tree City USA signs along public highways and the flag flying over the courthouse or city hall tells visitors, "We care about the environment and, in our community, trees are considered important, valuable components of the infrastructure, worthy of care, protection and celebration."

Being a Tree City USA presents the kind of image most citizens want for their town. Bob Belote, assistant director of Blue Springs Parks and Recreation Department, says "The distinction of Tree City USA is not one taken lightly. Combining the tree board's volunteer efforts with the city's resources has made for a potent team in promoting tree-related efforts."

The Conservation Department gives Tree City USA communities preference over other communities when making allocations of grant money for tree planting projects and other community forestry efforts. Other granting agencies have more confidence in communities demonstrating their commitment to the trees in their community by becoming a Tree City USA.

Finally, being a Tree City USA creates a sense of community pride. It is an accomplishment that communities can be proud of, and this pride often results in better care of trees on private properties. Ruth Doherty, a member of the Blue Springs Tree Board, describes the benefits of Tree City USA.

"When we began in 1990, we hoped to become a resource for our community, but in the process, we have also become a resource for other communities seeking Tree City USA status. By sharing what we've learned, the benefits are increased exponentially."

Trees, our silent citizens, need our help. Tree City USA provides the foundation and the framework necessary for a community supported, successful forestry program. If you care about the trees in your town, take the lead and support, promote and assist your community's effort to become a Tree City USA. triangle

MISSOURI'S Tree City USA communities in 1996

  • Ballwin
  • Blue Springs
  • Branson
  • Brentwood
  • Centralia
  • Clayton
  • Crestwood
  • Des Peres
  • Dexter
  • Ellisville
  • Exeter
  • Fenton
  • Ferguson
  • Florissant
  • Grandview
  • Jackson
  • Kansas City
  • Kirksville
  • Kirkwood
  • Lee's Summitt
  • Memphis
  • Mexico
  • Parkville
  • Richmond Heights
  • Rock Hill
  • Springfield
  • St. Joseph
  • St. Louis
  • Stanberry
  • Sturgeon
  • University City
  • Warson Woods
  • Webster Groves
  • Whiteman AFB

How to become a Tree City USA

  • Obtain an application form from a Conservation Department office or the National Arbor Day Foundation.
  • If your community already meets the four required standards, fill out the application and collect supporting documentation. If not, contact your local Conservation Department office for help.
  • When your community meets the four standards, the mayor or another city official should submit the application and documentation to the Conservation Department no later than Dec. 31. There is no fee associated with this program.
  • Applications then are reviewed and approved by the Conservation Department before being forwarded to the National Arbor Day Foundation.

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