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City of Highland Park Named Tree City USA for 38th Consecutive Year

City receives Tree City USA Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation

The City of Highland Park has been named named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 38th consecutive year. This distinguished award recognizes a dedication to effective urban forest management. The City also received the Growth Award from the Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of the City’s innovative programs and projects as well as increased commitment of resources for urban forestry.

The City’s Forestry Section is responsible for the maintenance of about 30,000 street trees, including planting, removing, annual trimming, and integrated pest management. It preserves the urban forest canopy by reviewing construction and development for compliance with City code. The knowledgeable Forestry Section staff manages the landscape of over 160 City-owned properties and right-of-ways. The Forestry Section is also responsible for landscape and infrastructure maintenance in the business districts including Central Business District and Ravinia Business District. 

As part of the City’s effective urban foestry practices and in line with sustainability initiatives, the City executes a robust 7-year tree pruning cycle and maintains a stringent ordinance to protect and preserve existing trees during construction. The City collaborates with other communities in a suburban tree consortium for a joint bidding process to purchase trees, which saves money and broadens the diversity of available tree species. In 2017, the City hosted DePaul University Environmental Science major students for a field trip highlighting urban forestry practices in Highland Park. The City also received a $10,000 grant from the ComEd Green Region program to remove invasive buckthorn and replace it with a pollinator garden along the Robert McClory bike trail (Green Bay trail).

“Our community takes great pride in its diverse tree inventory and is a recognized leader in urban forest management. Cleaner air, improved stormwater management, and increased property values are just some of the benefits trees provide,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “The City is excited to announce an expanded Arbor Day Celebration, which is a wonderful, family-friendly opportunity to come together to celebrate our achievement and continue learning about the value of protecting our trees and environment.”

A municipality must meet four requirements to become a Tree City USA, a: a tree board or arborist department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. Highland Park is among more than 3,400 Tree City USA’s with a combined population of 140 million.

The 2018 Arbor Day Celebration will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 9AM-1PM in at Jens Jensen Park in the Ravinia Business District. The event is made possible through a partnership with the Ravinia Business District property owners, Highland Park businesses, the City’s sister governments, and utility partners. For more information, contact Hayley Garard at or 847.926.1043.