Wright-Patt continues its standing as a Tree City USA community

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is celebrating its 21st year as a “Tree City USA” community and joined 240 other communities throughout the state for recognition during a Tree City USA award program on April 20.

The base also received a “growth” award by going above and beyond in management of its urban forest. The Tree City USA Growth Award recognizes environmental improvement and encourages higher levels of tree care throughout the country.


“Forty-five cities, villages, townships and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in southwest Ohio earned the Tree City USA designation in 2017,” said Wendi Van Buren, an urban forester with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“Half of all Ohioans live and work in a Tree City USA community and enjoy a variety of benefits that come with having more trees, such as cleaner air and water, reduced storm-water runoff and increased property values,” she added.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and provides national recognition for urban forestry programs in towns across the country. Tree City USA celebrates the importance of an urban tree canopy in cities, or in this case, military installations. The program was started in 1976 as a means for communities to have the framework necessary to manage and expand their public trees.

A number of criteria must be met in order to become a Tree City USA community. It must maintain a “Tree Board”, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.

“Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s environmental division has maintained our commitment to these standards for over two decades,” said Danielle Trevino, an environmental protection specialist with the 88th Civil Engineering Group. “There are numerous reasons to maintain and enhance our urban forest at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“Trees have been proven to increase productivity, reduce ADHD symptoms, decrease stress levels and more,” she continued. “Trees are nature’s form of erosion control. One hundred mature trees can catch 200,000 gallons of rainwater a year! Trees also decrease energy costs while increasing air quality. These are just a few of the reasons our urban forest enhances our lives here on base, and we are dedicated to the Tree City USA standards.”

The base has recently put into place several measures, which have enhanced its urban forest management efforts and have led to it receiving the growth award this year, Trevino explained.

A Hazard Tree Assessment and Action program was established. All urban trees on the installation were evaluated for risk to persons or property:

  • Trees at risk were mapped, and GPS and street locations were noted
  • Each tree was given a priority level for removal, allowing grounds crews to prioritize tree work
  • A new approved tree planting list for the installation was created, with an udated species list
  • Four members of the Wright-Patterson AFB Tree Board completed freshman year of the Tree Commission Academy, a program offered through the Ohio Division of Forestry to provide formal training with the goal of producing comfortable, knowledgeable graduates capable of helping their community effectively meet its urban forestry mission

“We couldn’t have earned the Growth Award without continuous support from our management, collaboration from other base organizations, and tree education opportunities from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources,” said Trevino.

About the Author