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How to Get Started

Ready to begin your journey toward Tree Campus K–12 recognition? Use this checklist of key steps to keep you on track.


Commit to Becoming a Tree Campus K–12 School

Time Frame: Spring, Summer, or Fall

Fill out the Make the Pledge form and tell us a bit about yourself and your school. This is your way of saying that you intend to carry out activities that fulfill each of the program goals in the coming school year. By letting us know, we can send you reminders and helpful information throughout the year.

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Assemble Your Team

Time Frame: Fall

The creation of a Tree Campus Team is one of the program goals and is an excellent starting point. This group — comprised of students and staff — represents the “tree heroes” that will lead the charge in creating a plan to meet the program goals. Already have a school green team, recycling club, or garden caretakers? This is a great place to start. Consider rallying members of these groups to be champions of your school’s trees. You may find that celebrating trees and their environmental benefits is in direct alignment with these groups’ goals.

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Create Your Plan

Time Frame: Fall

To achieve recognition, your team will need to create an education plan. Review each goal and begin brainstorming how you might fulfill these.

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Hands-On Experience

Time Frame: Fall or Spring

Your school’s hands-on experience will show your community the spirit of the Tree Campus K–12 program. As you plan your experience, now is a great time to engage your community forestry contacts if you haven’t already. Can your students join forces with your municipal forestry department to help plant or inventory trees in the community? Can your students learn about urban and community forestry through job shadowing? Can your students help a local nonprofit tree organization with a tree planting or distribution event? Can your students visit a younger group of students and conduct a presentation on the benefits of trees in their community? Your hands-on experience can take many different forms — the key is to find what works best for your unique school community.

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Celebrate Arbor Day

Time Frame: National Arbor Day  (last Friday in April) or your state’s Arbor Day

An Arbor Day observance is an opportunity to bring your school’s commitment to trees to life. It can also be a platform for education about the benefits of trees on your campus and in your community. Check out the Resources Page for ideas on celebrating Arbor Day. You might find that it works best for your school to partner with your city or a local college or university that is also celebrating Arbor Day. Be sure to take pictures and record evidence of the event so that you’re ready when applying for recognition.

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Apply for Recognition

Time Frame: End of school year

This is it! Now is the time to collect your records and documentation of the activities, education, and events your school has carried out on your path to becoming a Tree Campus K–12 school as you prepare to submit the application.

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Celebrate your Success.

Time Frame: Beginning of following school year

Congratulations! You have achieved recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus K–12 school. This is your moment to applaud the Tree Campus Team and the school’s accomplishments. Share your pride with your community – you just might inspire new partnerships.

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Tree Campus K-12 is an Arbor Day Foundation Program in collaboration with:

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