Tree City USA is a part of the urban and community forestry
profession and part of a $4.7 billion industry in Illinois. Illinois
ranks second in the nation for the number of communities
participating in the Tree City USA program, an honor the state has
held for more than a decade, and first in the nation for Tree City
USA Growth Award communities. This is the 31st year for the national
Tree City USA program.
"Recognition as a Tree City USA community is an important
designation, and for more than a decade, Illinois has ranked among
the top states in the nation for participation in this program. I
applaud the local communities for their dedication to maintaining a
healthy community forest," Flood said.
The Tree City USA program promotes tree planting and care
programs in urban areas and calls public attention to the economic,
health and aesthetic benefits trees offer. Citizen participation in
community reforestation and beautification efforts is encouraged
through this program. The Tree City USA program provides support to
communities to assist in the battle against exotic invasive species
such as emerald ash borer.
"Annually, Illinois Tree City USA communities spend more than $83
million collectively on tree planting and tree care," said Reinee
Hildebrandt, program administrator for the Department of Natural
Resources. "With the newly found emerald ash borer, many local
budgets are hardly adequate to address the EAB infestation facing
Illinois. Wilmette alone faces a $2.5 billion impact to its
community forest, but as a Tree City USA community, it is ready with
staffing and forestry budgets to begin its battle with the EAB."
To be eligible to participate in the Tree City USA program, a
community must legally designate a city official or volunteer tree
advocate as having authority over the management and care of the
urban forest. The second standard is to have a community tree
ordinance that specifically recognizes the designated tree authority
and identifies urban forest management and tree care standards by
which the community will abide. Third, the community must expend $2
per resident for its urban forestry program. Illinois communities
expend an average of more than $11.57 per capita. The final
requirement is to conduct an annual Arbor Day tree planting
ceremony, with an official Arbor Day proclamation being developed
for announcing the day of the celebration.
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The Illinois communities of Dixon, Round Lake, Sycamore, Trout
Valley and Wauconda are first-year participants in the Tree City USA
program. Other milestone communities in Illinois are as follows:
five-year awards -- Edwardsville, Lake Barrington, Charleston and
Savoy; 10-year recognition -- Aurora, Batavia, Channahon, Glendale
Heights, Gurnee, Lindenhurst and Wayne; 15-year recognition --
Antioch, East Peoria, Hinsdale, Lisle, Macomb, Marshall, St. Elmo,
Streamwood and Vernon Hills; 20-year recognition -- Berwyn,
Bloomington, Des Plaines, La Grange Park and Orland Park; and
25-year recognition -- Chicago.
This year, 47 Tree City USA
communities will receive the Growth Award to recognize additional
efforts that are being accomplished to improve basic urban forestry
programs. This is the first year the communities of DeKalb, Lincoln,
Macomb and Savoy will receive this award. The 10-year Growth Award,
called the Silver Certificate Milestone, was reached by Champaign,
Genoa and Northbrook. To qualify for a Growth Award, a community
previously must have been designated a Tree City USA participant,
conduct a variety of urban forestry activities and spend at least
the same amount of money on its program this year as last year.
Illinois' state program ranks first in the nation for Tree City USA
Growth Award communities. The city of Chicago, with 15 years of
participation, holds the record for the Illinois community with the
most number of years participating in the Tree City USA Growth
The Tree City USA program is annually sponsored by the National
Arbor Day Foundation and the Department of Natural Resources Urban
and Community Forestry Program, in cooperation with the National
Association of State Foresters and the U.S. Forest Service.
Through the Illinois Urban and Community Forestry Program, the
IDNR offers communities technical and financial assistance in urban
forestry efforts. Information is available by contacting the Urban
and Community Forestry Program, Illinois Department of Natural
Resources, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702.
The annual application deadline for the Tree City USA program is
Dec. 31. Southwestern Resource and Conservation Development
co-sponsored the award presentation this year in Springfield. Morton
Arboretum co-sponsored the northern Illinois event.
Click here for a
complete list of Tree City USA honors in Illinois.
[Text from Illinois
Department of Natural Resources file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]