Last month Ben and I met Anna Heckman, Everett’s Urban Forester, for an on-the-streets walking tour of trees in the Everett central business district for the 2016 Association of Washington Cities conference. The take-home message on the tour was that well-planned and maintained street trees are assets to a city. During the tour and at our information booth we met mayors, city councilors, administrators and managers from communities across the state.

My City is a Tree City
A leftover sticker from the AWC conference in Everett

Throughout the conference we passed out stickers that read “My City is a Tree City, is Yours?” to representatives of current Tree City USA (TCUSA)-designated cities. The enthusiastic responses we received made it clear that city leaders are proud of both the TCUSA designation and the outstanding efforts by the staff and volunteers who make it happen.

City officials let us know that they understand the value of well-managed trees. They know that trees provide economic, environmental, and social benefits and make communities attractive destinations. Trees are a worthwhile investment and investing in trees is the way to grow healthy, safe, resilient, benefit-providing community forests.

Your efforts are noticed! Keep up the good work.

The Tree City USA program is coordinated by the Arbor Day Foundation at the national level but administered by DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry program here in Washington state. The oldest Tree City USA in Washington is Ellensburg (at 33 years and counting!) but nationally, Tree City USA celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

If your city is not a Tree City, consider beginning your journey toward tree management by applying for TCUSA recognition. Questions? We are here to help.

by Linden Lampman, program manager, coordinator, DNR Urban & Community Forest Program, linden.lampman@dnr.wa.gov