Tree City USA and Growth Award
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Tree City USA -Background Information
The Illinois Tree City USA program helps IDNR serve over 7.5 million Illinois citizens or close to 70% of the state’s metropolitan population. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forest Resources co-administers the Tree City USA program with the Arbor Day Foundation. Tree City USA and Tree City USA Growth Awards are nationwide programs that recognize communities for their urban forestry efforts and serves as technical assistance vehicle for the state. Tree City USA provides the basis for urban forestry management. Along with the Growth Award, which encourages program expansion and special initiatives, these programs are a great asset for initiation, development, and growth of local urban and community forestry programs. Tree City USA and Growth Awards are a highly respected and sought after recognition in Illinois.
Throughout the history of the program Illinois has been one of the top participants in these programs nationwide. Illinois has reigned as #2 in the Nation for the number of Tree City USA participants for about 22 years and is currently #3. We follow only Ohio and Wisconsin (states that have had regional urban forestry field staff dedicated for over a decade). In Illinois, Tree City USA communities spend nearly $95 million on tree planting, care and EAB removals in 2015. The record high per capita has been $59 spend on trees and tree related activities.
Tree City USA program outreach assists communities with proper urban and community forestry management. For decades TCU communities had been advised to diversify their urban forest, develop tree inventories/management plans, and implement tree care ordinances - all urban forestry management actions that helped ready a community for major insect and disease infestations. By being engaged in urban forest management and participating in Illinois TCU program, municipalities save well over a billion dollars just through species diversity and invasive species readiness. Being engaged in urban forestry management helps municipalities more cost effectively manage their tree resources and provide a safe environment for their citizens.
From 1995 to 2007(pre-EAB) Illinois had a ratio of 1:1 for every tree removed one tree was planted due to the success of local, state and national urban forestry programs (this is compared to a 1:10 ratio when the national urban and community forestry program was initiated in 1991. TCU communities are currently working back toward a 1:1 tree planting to removal ratio given the recent loss of canopy due to Emerald Ash Borer. Many are establishing canopy cover ratios and working to achieve that percent. Recently with the change to an electronic application system many communities took the opportunity to update their tree care ordinances with language that included current tree care standards. All communities are encouraged to plant a diversity of tree species. Tree City USA communities have the species diversity concept center to their urban and community forestry management goals. EAB was founded in Illinois in 2006. For decades TCU communities had been advised to diversify their urban forest, develop tree inventories/management plans, and implement tree care ordinances - all urban forestry management actions that helped ready a community for major insect and disease infestations. By being engaged in urban forest management and participating in Illinois TCU program, municipalities save well over a billion dollars just through species diversity and invasive species readiness.
The Growth Award
The growth Award is a companion award to the Tree City USA recognition award. Your community can achieve a Tree City USA Growth Award if it qualifies as a Tree City USA for at least the second consecutive year and completes activities in eligible categories totaling 10 or more points. There are four categories where points can be earned:
This award provides motivation for communities to go above and beyond the basic elements of a local municipal forestry program to create a highly functioning local forest management program. Illinois has reigned as #1 in Growth Award participation for most of the programs existence. We are currently tied for 1st in the nation!
To apply, you must first apply for and submit your Tree City USA award application via the online application
process. Once this is done you will be prompted with the opportunity to apply for a Growth Award. Here is the Growth Award Application