In honor of its commitment to the community forest, the City of San Dimas has been named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. In 2006, the City met the last of the Tree City requirements through the adoption of a Community Tree Ordinance and was awarded the Tree City USA designation. To qualify for the Tree City USA designation a city must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. A city must have a tree board or a department which is responsible for the care and management of community trees. San Dimas trees are the responsibility of the Parks and Recreation Department and are managed by the Landscape Division of this department. A city must also have a Tree Ordinance. With the adoption of the Community Tree Ordinance in 2006 the City of San Dimas met this criteria. A city must spend at least two dollars per capita on its tree program. With the annual pruning and planting that the City does it easily meets this criteria. Last but not least, a Tree City USA must observe Arbor Day each year. The City of San Dimas celebrates Arbor Day with the entire third grade class from one of our local schools each year. The children plant trees and participate in activities designed to open up their eyes to the world of arboriculture. They come away with a new appreciation for the trees that give them life.
The benefits of being a Tree City USA are many. When a city determines that it wants to become a Tree City USA it must work toward meeting the four standards. These four criteria were established to ensure that cities applying for the designation meet a high standard of care for their community trees. In meeting the established criteria the city proves that it is committed to a high level of maintenance of the trees it has responsibility for. It also gives a very real sense of community pride and demonstrates that the city cares about the environment. A tangible benefit of being a Tree City USA is that when a city applies for a grant, officials tend to have more confidence in communities that have demonstrated the ability and foresight of becoming a Tree City USA. It gives the city an edge and an advantage during the selection process.
Once a city earns the Tree City USA designation, it is then eligible for a Tree City USA Growth Award. The Growth Award is given to those cities who go above and beyond the basic requirements of the Tree City USA criteria. The award is given after ten points are earned from a list of possible activities. The list provides an excellent source of ideas for planning projects that lead to a better urban forestry program. As an example, in 2007 the City of San Dimas created and adopted The Community Forest Management Plan and established the San Dimas Branch Hands, together these new programs were worth ten points and earned the City it's first Growth Award. Each year since the City has earned the Growth Award and will continue to strive towards this goal.
Both the Tree City USA and Growth Awards, challenge our community to recognize the value of our trees and continue to manage them to the highest standards known in the industry. The City of San Dimas is proud to be a Tree City USA and will continue to strive to provide an urban forestry program which engages the community and enhances the quality of life for all.