Tree City/Line/Campus USA Programs

About the Programs

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Urban and Community Forestry program cosponsors the Tree City, Tree Line and Tree Campus USA programs with the Arbor Day Foundation. These are nationwide programs that recognize communities, utilities and campuses for their commitment to quality tree care and provide the basis for sustainable urban forestry management.

In 1972, the Tree City USA program began when Nebraska's Division of Tourism celebrated its centennial Arbor Day. As a result of this great success, the program went national in 1976 recognizing 42 communities, both small and large, for their efforts in proper tree care management.

There are now more than 3,300 Tree Cities, 150 Tree Lines and 40 Tree Campuses across the country. For 2011, Michigan honored 121 communities, 3 utilities and 2 universities with these designations. Michigan continues to be ranked 8th nationally in total number of communities certified. Click here to view this year's recipients.

MI Tree City USA, 1976-2013, graph

The Requirements

To receive the Tree City USA award, a community must meet four standards. It must have:

  1. A tree board, commission, or municipal department that has legal responsibility for the care of public trees and has the authority to develop and administer a community tree management program.
  2. A tree ordinance which identifies authority for public tree management and establishes policies for tree planting, maintenance, and removal.
  3. An annual budget for administering, managing, and implementing the community forestry program of at least $2.00 per capita. Funds spent for tree care in various departments as well as volunteer labor and donated supplies and services can be included in the calculation.
  4. An Arbor Day observance and proclamation. This can be as simple as a brief tree planting ceremony or as intricate as a week-long celebration with contests, songs, readings, media involvement, and education programs. The observance can occur at any time of the year. A proclamation by the mayor or city council must accompany the observance.

The Benefits

Communities achieving Tree City status receive a flag, a walnut mounted plaque and special highway entrance signs proclaiming this community a Tree City USA! But the TC USA designation is more than a flag, signs, and a plaque. It is a feather in your cap that can help sustain or improve a forestry program in these tight economic times.

How to Apply

If you are interested in the TC USA program visit the Tree City USA page at the Arbor Day Foundation.

Apply for a Tree City USA award online.

For more information call the Arbor Day Foundation at 888-448-7337, or feel free to contact the Michigan State Urban Forestry Coordinator:

Kevin Sayers
State Urban Forestry Coordinator
PO Box 30452
Lansing, MI 48909
phone: 517-284-5898

Application Forms

Tree City USA:For Tree City USA forms, Visit the Tree City USA "Resources to Help You Apply" page. Those are duplicated below for convenience.

Tree Campus USA

Your community or utility may already have met the these standards. If not, the state coordinator can assist you by providing advice and resources to help you achieve this designation and join the ranks of Michigan's other Tree Cities and Tree Lines.