Special Recognition Given to 27 Tree City USA Communities

Nebraska City, Neb. -- The National Arbor Day Foundation has created a new distinction for communities that have shown exceptional commitment to the Foundation's Tree City USA program. The Sterling Award, taken from the name of Arbor Day Founder J. Sterling Morton, will be automatically awarded to communities who have participated in the Tree City USA Growth Award program for 10 years.

The Sterling Award has been created to provide added incentive for communities to continue to diversify their efforts in caring for their local community forest. Twenty-seven communities in 17 states have been recognized with a Growth Award during each year of the program, making these the first communities to receive the Sterling Award. Towns range in size from a population of 1,250 in Dysart, Iowa to Chicago, Illinois at a population of nearly 2.8 million, and includes one of 97 U.S. military installations registered as Tree City USA's across the country and overseas.

A complete list of communities follows:

Daphne, Alabama; Scottsdale, Arizona; Lompoc, California; Highlands Ranch, Colorado; Orlando, Plantation, and Winter Park, Florida; Cornelia, Gainesville, and Macon, Georgia; Chicago and Lincolnshire, Illinois; Elkhart, Indiana; Dubuque, Dysart, and Waterloo, Iowa; Overland Park, Kansas; Westminster, Maryland; Lincoln and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska; Paramus and Stafford, New Jersey; Bristol and Jackson, Tennessee, Euless, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah and Herndon, Virginia.

Created in 1976, Tree City USA is designed to help promote community forestry. In order to be recognized as a Tree City USA, communities must meet four requirements which include: having a designated tree board, forestry professional or city department responsible for the care of trees in the community; passing a tree care ordinance; having an active forestry program in place with an annual budget of at least 2 dollars per capita; and proclaiming and hosting an Arbor Day celebration. The Growth Awards program was launched in 1991 to honor communities that demonstrate a greater effort in tree care by going beyond the four requirements for participation in the Tree City USA program.

The National Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit education organization dedicated to tree planting and environmental stewardship. More information on the Foundation and its programs is available by visiting the FoundationÂ’s website, arborday.org.

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