Sixty-five Hoosier cities and towns have each been recognized as a Tree City USA by the DNR Division of Forestry for outstanding management of their urban forests.
Sixteen of the 65 also received the Growth Award, which exemplifies a higher standard of excellence for urban forestry management.
“In 2012, Indiana’s 65 Tree Cities planted more than 14,500 trees, removed 15,800 (some due to trees lost to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer), and pruned 45,357. These municipalities are to be commended for utilizing the urban forest as a tool to enhance economic development, environmental health, and quality of life in their community,” said State Forester John Seifert.
The Tree City USA program has been in existence in Indiana since 1984, when Bloomington met the criteria and became the first Tree City in the state. In 2012, four cities were awarded Tree City USA for the first time — NSA Crane, Hartford, Dana and Batesville
To achieve Tree City USA, communities must draft and pass a public tree care ordinance, designate a municipal department and tree advisory committee, spend at least $2 per capita for the tree care program, and have an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
The communities will be formally recognized by DNR Forestry staff during April and May at Arbor Day ceremonies throughout the state. The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters sponsor the program, which now includes 3,447 Tree Cities nationally, 443 of which received the Growth Award.
Indiana lost six Tree Cities this year, many of which held their status since the early ‘90s. A total of 568 cities and towns in the state are eligible.
For more information on urban forestry and how to become a Tree City USA, call (317) 234-6568 or email urbanforestry@dnr.IN.gov. A list of the 65 honorees is below.