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Urban forests

About the Urban and Community Forestry Program

Urban forests are the trees in the cities and neighborhoods where we live. The urban forest includes trees along streets, in parks and natural areas, and in your own cheers to 30 years graphicbackyard. Urban forests provide many important environmental, social, and economic benefits and services too.

Urban forestry is the care and management of these trees in cities. Many cities have an urban forestry or other tree care program that manages trees along city streets and in parks.

For over 30 years the ODF Urban and Community Forestry Program has assisted communities with developing, improving, and expanding their urban forestry programs. Contact program staff to learn how your city can become more involved in urban & community forestry activities."

Latest news

CTC newsletter header image

​​​​T​he newsletter of the Oregon Department of Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry Program.​

​​​Tree City USA communities

April was proclaimed as Oregon Arbor Month for the first time in 2021.​ To mark the occasion, the Oregon Department of Forestry asked the state's 69 Tree City USA communities to send us a photo capturing the city's Tree City USA spirit. These same cities were asked the question, "What does earning Tree City USA recognition mean to your city?" With this information, we created what we believe is an inspiring and engaging story, combining images, text, and an interactive Oregon map. The storymap made its debut April 15 in the middle of Arbor Month.

View the storymap about celebrating Oregon's Tree City USA communities.​​

Hiroshima peace trees communities

​Thirty-two Oregon communities planted a total of 47 Hiroshima peace trees in 2019, 2020, and 2021 through a combined effort by the Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Community Trees and the One Sunny Day Initiative.

View the storymap about the Hiroshima peace tree plantings and view where each one is planted on the map ​above.​

Resources

A sandwich board sign detailing all the benefits of trees 

​​​​A list of public​ places around Oregon where a variety of trees are grown for study and display. Please note the below lists capture most of the arboretums in Oregon.

​​​Our hearts are heavy from thinking of those who lost loved ones, homes, and dreams in the recent fires across the state. We know that, for many of you, your city's trees may be the last thing on your mind right now. Yet trees embody hope. Whether or not your town was devastated by fire or smoke, ​view a list of community forestry and wildfire-related resources that may be useful in the future, if not now.​​

TreesAreGood.org provides the public with educational information about the benefits of trees and how to properly care for trees in the urban environment.

Website

An assortment of publications on tree and urban forestry related topics. Scroll down to “Publications about Forest Benefits & Health."

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Designed to help guide city managers, policymakers and advocates in building effective urban forest programs, this website contains the latest research and best practices for implementing urban forestry projects in your community. A joint project of the US FS, American Forests and the National Association of Regional Councils.

Website​​

Appreciating city trees

Group of people at the city of Talent, peace tree planting for Arbor Day 2020 

​Arbor Day is America's National Tree Holiday. It’s the day set aside to plant ceremonial trees, educate children about the importance of trees and honor the important role trees play in our daily lives. National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree-planting times in their area.

In Oregon, we traditionally set aside the month of April to honor trees.​

For more information on Arbor Day or to plan a celebration, visit the Arbor Day Foundation​ or contact your local Urban and Community Assistance Forester.​

​​A Tree Board, sometimes called “Tree Advisory Committee” or “Tree Commission,” is a group of citizen volunteers charged by ordinance with developing, guiding, or administering a community tree management program. A Tree Board advises and assists city professionals by:

  • Raising public awareness and public education about the value of trees
  • Serving as a technical advisor on tree related issue
  • Helping work on city tree care codes or a management plan
  • Advocating for trees
  • Promote Heritage Tree programs
  • Organizing tree planning projects and Arbor Day ceremonies

Cities with Tree City USA status already have a Tree Board of some sort.

If your city is not already a Tree City USA, consider starting a Tree Board in your town by contacting your mayor or city manager. Also consider attending "Tree Board University​​​," a free, online series of courses to help you learn more about serving in a citizen advisory role in your city.​​

​Late spring in Oregon with its long hours of daylight and warmer weather is a great time of the year to share your love of trees with your community. Although the people who care for urban trees are busy watering, pruning, and performing other day-to-day maintenance tasks, with trees leafed out and some still in flower, the weeks before summer are great times of the year even during our pandemic to celebrate and educate others about the many benefits trees provide.

Adding a few fun education and outreach activities into your summer work plan helps raise awareness of trees and your program at a time when a lot of residents have more time on their hands because of COVID-19. You can reach an even larger audience by joining forces with other programs and non-profits in your area.

Here are some good examples that residents of your community can engage in from home or alone at a safe physical distance from others:

Tree tours – Se​​lf-guided or online

  • Solicit suggestions from community members to locate favorite trees in your town, then: 
    • Create an online tour to showcase trees by taking photos and posting descriptions.
    • Create and print a brochure with a map for a self-guided city tree tour. Partner with a food delivery service to include one with deliveries in neighborhoods near the tour route.

Tree stories

  • Collect stories about historic or prominent community trees and partner with the local newspaper to publish a “tree of the month" article.
  • Research the history of a prominent local tree and consider nominating them as a heritage tree for your city or even with the state-level Heritage Tree program

Team up with your community's parks or recreation department

  • Offer an online tree identification webinar.
  • Host a Zoom meeting about tree art – discuss how people can go find twigs, leaves, and branches in their yards or nearby (without damaging trees) and create interesting collages or other artwork.

Partner with local or regional arborists

  • Hold online workshops explaining tree care or maintenance, proper pruning or tree watering, etc.
  • Hold a photo contest that highlights park trees in your community. The contest winner might receive a tree, planted on their behalf in their favorite park next spring. (Hint: Tree City USA Arbor Day grants can pay for trees planted for Arbor Day events.)
  • Work with a local bookstore to hold a “poe-tree" contest; display selected poems in large type in the store window or in City Hall. (Hint: Haiku poems are short and easy to fit on a single sheet.)

This list may help stir up some ideas about how you can involve your community in the joy and benefits provided by trees, while raising the visibility of your city's urban forestry program and the importance of caring for the community forest.

Celebrate Oregon Arbor Month

Wi​ll your​​​​​​ city be submitting a 2021 Tree City USA application?​

Due to the pandemic, the Arbor Day Foundation has modified Standard 4 requirements of an Arbor Day proclamation and observance. Cities applying for Tree City USA status in 2021 are REQUIRED to proclaim Arbor Day, and ENCOURAGED (NOT required) to observe Arbor Day while safely socially distancing.

Learn more about the Tree City USA - The Arbor Day Foundation.

​​​​The Tree City USA program is a national program that provides the framework for community forestry management for cities and towns across America.

Communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management:

  • Maintaining a tree board or department
  • Having a community tree ordinance
  • Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry
  • Celebrating Arbor Day

Participating communities have demonstrated a commitment to caring for and managing their public trees. In Oregon, nearly 70 communities participate in the Tree City USA program.

List of Tree City USA communities in Oregon

If your community is interested in becoming a Tree City USA, please contact an Urban and Community Assistance Forester, view the storymap about celebrating Oregon's Tree City USA communities, or visit the Arbor Day Foundation website​.

Tree Campus USA

The Arbor Day Foundation also recognizes college and university campuses committed to their green space through the Tree Campus USA program. Tree Campus USA schools:

  • Effectively manage their campus trees
  • Develop a connection with their community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests
  • Strive to engage their student population with campus and community forestry efforts

Learn more about becoming a Tree Campus USA​ from the Arbor Day Foundation​.​​​​

Contact

Urban and Community Forestry Program
Contact

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the Community Tree Connections newsletter.

Partner organizations

​Arbor Day Foundation’s national network of nonprofit organizations, municipalities, urban forest councils and individuals devoted to the hands-on work of planting and caring for trees in cities and towns.

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A national conservation organization whose commitments include building vibrant cities through urban forests and greenspace. They partner with city leaders and community groups, develop science-based action plans, advocate for and fund urban forestry, implement planting projects and build public awareness. The website also contains the register of the largest living specimens of American trees, The National Register of Champion Trees.

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Register website​​ ​​

The largest non-profit membership organization focused on planting trees both nationally and internationally. ADF has many tree and urban forestry-related programs, including Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA, Tree Line USA and Community Tree Recovery. ADF is the host of the annual Partners in Community Forestry (PCF) conference, the largest international gathering of urban forestry practitioners, advocates, researchers, and government leaders

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PCF website​​​​ ​

A nationally recognized grassroot non-profit, Friends of Trees strives to make it fun and easy for cities and volunteers to reforest natural areas and plant street and yard trees in the Portland area, Salem, Eugene and southwest Washington.

Website​​​​

Through research, technology, and education, the ISA promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. ISA exists so that professionals, allied professionals, public officials, and consumers worldwide recognize the economic, environmental, and societal benefits and values of trees and their care at a cost that demonstrates the wise stewardship of resources.

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PNW Chapter website ​​​

OCT is Oregon’s urban and community forestry advisory council. It’s mission is to promote healthy urban and community forests through leadership, education, awareness, and advocacy. OCT co-hosts Oregon’s annual urban forestry conference; recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding work on behalf of urban trees; and provides small grants to help boost community celebrations of Oregon Arbor Week.

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A program of the Oregon Travel Information Council (OTIC), officially recognizing Oregon trees that hold state historical significance. The website also contains a directory of city and county heritage tree programs.

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From improving air and water quality, to advancing human health and safety, to promoting economic development and social equity, SUFC is a powerful urban forestry lobbying organization whose mission is to convene and mobilize its diverse member network to foster thriving communities through healthy urban and community forests.

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Trees with a stream

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