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From the Arbor Day Foundation

As a part of the city of Billings, the Yellowstone Arboretum proudly flies the Tree City U.S.A. flag in the Flag Garden at ZooMontana. With the city's recent grant approval, $1 million will go to grow and improve the urban forestry plan for Billings in addition to the funds that go each year into the Tree U.S.A. program. Here's some more information regarding the program and how it affects each and every one of us.

Cooler temperatures. Cleaner air. Higher property values. Healthier residents.

The benefits trees bring to urban environments are endless — and by earning Tree City USA recognition, your community can experience them firsthand.

The Tree City USA program provides communities with a four-step framework to maintain and grow their tree cover. It also gives them an avenue to celebrate their work, showing residents, visitors, and the entire country that they’re committed to the mission of environmental change.



Started in 1976, Tree City USA is one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s oldest programs. Our founders had a vision for a greener, healthier America, and hoped this initiative would inspire change on a nationwide level.

The first Tree City USA cohort was comprised of 42 communities in 16 states. Today, the program includes more than 3,600 communities from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

We’ve seen a lot of change over the years — but our participants’ passion for trees has remained the same.

Our story isn’t over. We hope to continue growing our network, city by city, until every American can live in a Tree City USA community.

A community can receive annual Tree City recognition by meeting four overarching standards.

They include:

  1. Maintaining a tree board or department

  2. Having a community tree ordinance

  3. Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry

  4. Celebrating Arbor Day

A thriving urban forest offers many advantages to communities. Here are just a few:

  • Trees help absorb the sounds of traffic in urban areas by 40%.

  • Neighborhoods with trees are seven to nine degrees cooler than those without.

  • Trees reduce energy costs up to 25% by shading buildings and protecting them from winter winds.

  • Homes with trees have higher property values.

  • Green space plays a major role in improving mental and physical health.

  • Planting and maintaining trees absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mitigating the effects of climate change.

Publicly demonstrating your commitment to the environment is a great way to build pride among residents, as well as position your community as an attractive place to live. To help you share your award, we send signs, flags, press releases, and other materials after your acceptance.

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