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Urban ForestryTexas A&M Forest Service works with communities to help plant, care and protect trees where people live, work and play. Community trees provide beauty and add to the property values, but new evidence also suggests trees save money and protect human health by reducing storm water runoff, energy costs and air pollution.
These high value trees in yards, parks and along city streets are collectively called the “urban forest” and because they grow in man-made environments, they need to be managed to keep residents safe and trees healthy.
Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forestry ProgramThe mission of the Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Forestry Program is to help build self-sustaining urban forestry and tree care programs in Texas communities.
Agency urban foresters act as facilitators, bringing together interested parties to find local solutions to local tree problems. By finding and training local leaders, Texas A&M Forest Service urban foresters help increase public awareness of the value of urban trees, raise the skill level of local tree workers, and set quality standards for tree planting and care.
Partnership Based ProgramsWith a small staff and a huge public to serve, Texas A&M Forest Service has created key partnerships with national tree groups, state and regional coalitions, and organized local groups. These combinations of federal, state and local resources and creativity have resulted in an improved quality of life for millions of Texans, one community at a time.
Partnership ExamplesPublic Outreach Grants: This pass-through funding from the USDA Forest Service is offered to local governments and non-profit groups to develop projects leading to long-term improvements in a community’s forestry program. Since 1991, over $2.6 million has been distributed to Texas cities, counties, schools, and volunteer groups to build quality urban forestry programs at the local level.
Texas Urban Forestry Council: Created in 1986 and made up of leaders from municipal governments, non-profit tree groups, trade groups, and state agencies, the council advises the state forester on urban forestry issues. It also promotes tree protection, planting, and care through its educational conferences and workshops.
Tree City USA, Tree Line USA, Tree Campus USA: Communities, electric utilities and colleges and universities can earn these designations by meeting minimum requirements for community forestry programs. The Arbor Day Foundation sets standards for tree care programs, and Texas A&M Forest Service foresters help leaders qualify for, apply and maintain the distinction.
Arbor Day: Texas A&M Forest Service foresters help coordinate Arbor Day events all across Texas, depending on the local community’s schedule. Since Texas has such a diverse climate, cities decide the best time to observe and celebrate tree planting locally. In fact, Arbor Day has grown into “Arbor Season” in Texas. The official state observance is held on the last Friday in April in cooperation with Keep Texas Beautiful, the Texas Forestry Association, Texas Garden Clubs, the Texas Nursery & Landscape Contractors Association, and others.
Texas Tree Conference: One of the largest educational sessions on urban forestry in the nation, this annual conference is sponsored by Texas A&M Forest Service, the Texas Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and the Texas Urban Forestry Council. For three days, attendees listen to national, state, and local leaders discuss new ways to care for trees and promote urban forestry in their community. Regional educational workshops improve the skills of hundreds of tree care workers and professionals.
Community Forestry Awards: The annual award program recognizes groups and individuals that have completed exceptional projects in their community. Each winner receives a framed, limited-edition print of a notable or historic Texas tree. The awards ceremony is supported by the Texas Urban Forestry Council and is held at the annual Texas Tree Conference.
Texas Big Tree Registry: This listing of the largest individual of every tree species in the state is modeled after the national big tree registry of American Forests. Any individual may nominate a tree by calling their local Texas A&M Forest Service forester, who will confirm the key measurements and help determine species champions.