Three communities in our area have been certified as a “Tree City USA” for their promotion of community forestry in 2010. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that 119 communities across the state received the designation, including the villages of Howard City and Sparta, and the city of Rockford. Out of the three, Rockford is new to the list this year.
The Tree City USA program promotes proper tree care and management in urban areas and calls attention to the economic, health, and aesthetic benefits trees offer. To be eligible to participate, a community must meet the following four requirements:
- Have a designated board or department responsible for tree care issues;
- Have a local tree ordinance;
- Have a budget for public tree care of at least $2 per capita;
- Have an annual Arbor Day celebration and official Arbor Day proclamation.
Since the program began in 1976, Michigan has seen a steady increase in the number of communities being certified as a Tree City.
“Healthy trees provide numerous important benefits to our communities and the environment,” said DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Kevin Sayers. “The Tree City USA award is a highly regarded achievement that allows us to recognize communities who have committed to ensuring these healthy public assets.”