Tree City USA

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Published on: Oct. 2, 2007

Last revision: Dec. 3, 2010

In many Missouri towns, trees on public property outnumber trees on private land. These “public” trees beautify city streets, adorn and shade parks and add character and a sense of permanence to communities.

People love their trees so much that they often name streets after them. How many Elm Streets do we have in Missouri? How many towns have streets named Locust or Maple? How many Willow Lanes? We even have towns named after tree species. Poplar Bluff, Birch Tree and Pineville are just a few examples.

As you drive across Missouri, as well as across the nation, you’ll see many communities proudly displaying the Tree City USA logo. The sign proclaims that the community cares about the environment.

The Tree City USA program, sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes communities working to improve the population, health and future growing space of their public trees. The program provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs.

Earning Tree City USA certification is a good deal for communities. Meeting the requirements of the program helps ensure the long-term planning and management necessary to preserve or improve urban forests.

Strong, healthy-growing street trees increase property values, improve the local and global environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and reduce energy consumption by reducing the need for cooling.

Public trees attract people to public places, where community spirit is fostered. They also draw people to shopping areas, which in turn draws businesses to locate in inviting and shaded downtown areas.

Tree City USA certification may also be useful when communities apply for state or national grants for forest-related work or activities. The designation signifies that trees are a high priority in the community, and it guarantees that a working infrastructure is in place to manage public trees.

Tree City USA certification also might mean another holiday. One of the four requirements for qualification is for a community to have an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. How communities comply might range from a simple ceremony honoring volunteer tree planters to a day-long festival that can be used as a springboard for helping residents learn more about trees and forest management.

A Success Story

Hermann recently attained the status of Tree City USA.

Located on the Missouri River in north Gasconade County, Hermann is well-known for its vineyards, festivals and beautiful scenery, especially in the fall when oaks, maples,

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