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Posted on: May 4, 2022

East Grand Rapids Earns Tree City USA designation and Growth Award

Lush tree branches

East Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 4, 2022 – The City of East Grand Rapids again has earned a Tree City USA designation and Growth Award for promoting and caring for trees within the community.

This is the eighth year the City of East Grand Rapids has received the Tree City USA designation. 

Tree City USA is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation that provides the necessary framework for communities to manage and expand their public trees, celebrate the importance of an urban tree canopy and improve care of vital city trees. A community achieves Tree City USA designation by having a tree board or department, community tree ordinance and annual Arbor Day celebration and spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry activities. Arbor Day is an annual day of observance typically held in the spring to celebrate trees and encourage tree planting.

Participating Tree City USA communities that demonstrate higher levels of tree care and community engagement during the calendar year are eligible for the Tree City USA Growth Award.

“We are proud to again be recognized as a Tree City USA and earn the Growth Award, and we thank the Arbor Foundation for these honors,” Mayor Katie Favale said. “Both of these honors highlight our ongoing commitment to the environment, the health and well-being of our residents and a high quality of life in East Grand Rapids. Trees help keep our neighborhoods cooler in the summer, protect us in the winter and help improve our mental and physical health.” 

The Growth Award recognizes major milestones and annual activities in five categories that combine to build sustainable community forestry programs over the long term. The categories are:

  • Building the team – budgeting, staffing and training.
  • Measuring trees and forests – tree canopy and inventory as well as urban forests.
  • Planning the work – policies and plans.
  • Performing the work – planting, maintaining and protecting trees, tree risk management, recycling and reuse, and natural areas.
  • Community framework – collaboration, volunteers, outreach, awareness and education.

In 2016, the City of East Grand Rapids completed a tree inventory and risk assessment of its 7,200 trees in the public right of way and developed a preventative maintenance plan for the tree canopy. Ongoing tree maintenance and treatment of diseased trees take place each year.

The City also offers an annual tree planting program to residents who want a tree added to the area between the sidewalk outside their home and the street. The cost for each tree is evenly shared between the homeowner and the City, with tree plantings generally taking place in the fall and early winter. 

“The City of East Grand Rapids takes its role in growing and maintaining our community’s tree canopy very seriously, and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with residents in this work,” said Doug LaFave, deputy city manager who oversees the City’s forestry division. “When properly planted and maintained, trees help improve the visual appeal of neighborhoods, increase property values, reduce cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among other benefits.”

For more information about the City’s tree maintenance and tree planting programs, visit eastgr.org/225/Forestry.

East Grand Rapids is one of only 124 communities in Michigan and among 3,600 nationally to earn the Tree City USA designation for 2021.

“Tree City USA communities benefit from the positive effects that an urban canopy has year after year,” said Dan Lambe, CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The trees being planted and cared for by East Grand Rapids ensure that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program helps cultivate a sense of stewardship and pride for the trees the community plants and cares for.”

The Tree City USA program is co-sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters. For more information about the program, visit arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.

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