DEEP: Urban Forestry

The Urban Forestry Program

{A View of New Haven from East Rock}
The Urban Forestry Program seeks to work with the citizens of Connecticut in the improvement of the state's urban forests.  These forests include the trees along the roads and highways of the state, in its parks and recreation areas, and in its residential and commercial neighborhoods.  The state's urban forests fill its cities, such as New Haven (above), its towns and its villages.  These are the trees most closely associated with the people and structures of Connecticut - the ones that the vast majority of Connecticut's citizens come into contact with every day.

Opportunities within the Urban Forestry Program

Urban Forestry Grants:   Grant opportunities are offered through two programs annually.  Under the America the Beautiful Grant Program, grants of up to $12,000 are available to assist municipalities and non-profits in local urban forestry efforts.  Under the Outreach Grant Program, funds are provided to non-profits to foster urban forestry outreach within the state of Connecticut. 

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2016 America the Beautiful grants or the Outreach Grants.  It is anticipated that applications for each grant program will be made available in late 2016 or early 2017.  

If you have any questions, please contact the Division of Forestry at (860) 424-3178 or (860) 424-3630, or by email at Chris Donnelly 

Technical Assistance ProgramsOne important avenue for improving the condition of urban and community forests in Connecticut is through improved care and maintenance of this resource.  Outreach programs and educational events are important steps towards achieving this goal.  The Division of Forestry does its share, by providing technical assistance to municipal tree workers, tree board members, state park workers and others, as the need arises. 

The urban forestry program has been working closely with the City of Hartford on an assessment of the ecosystem effects of the city's urban forest.  To see a preliminary listing of the results of this assessment, please view the flyer Hartford's Urban Forest - the Challenge.

The Division of Forestry has also been closely involved with the Cities of New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport in analyses of the urban tree canopy cover in each of those cities.  These reports are also available:  New Haven UTC Study   Hartford UTC Study   Bridgeport UTC Study  Greater Bridgeport UTC Study (6 towns).

Contact the Division of Forestry at (860) 424-3178 or (860) 424-3635, or email Chris Donnelly to learn more about these opportunities for technical assistance.   

Connecticut Urban Forest CouncilThe Connecticut Urban Forest Council brings together individuals from throughout Connecticut who are in an urban forestry leadership role.  A range of organizations are represented on the council, including folks involved in private tree care, urban forestry consulting, public utilities, tree wardens, municipal government, and educational institutions.  DEEP's Urban Forestry Program has a key role to play within the Council.  

To learn more about the Connecticut Urban Forest Council, please visit the Connecticut Urban Forest Council.

Tree City USA:  Currently in Connecticut there are eighteen communities that have been designated as Tree City USA's.   These communities are: New Haven, Bridgeport, Danbury, East Hartford, Fairfield, New Canaan, Groton, Middletown, Southbury, Stamford, Wethersfield, Hartford, Ridgefield, Brookfield, Branford, Monroe, Norwalk, and Wilton.

The criteria for designating a community as a Tree City USA and for the receipt of a Growth Award are established by the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF).  The ADF reviews applications for these designations following the recommendation of the State Forester as to whether a specific community in the state has met the requirements for these honors.  The Urban Forestry Program in Connecticut is very active in working with the towns and cities of the state, helping them to understand and achieve the qualifying standards and reporting the success of those who have attained these standards. 

To learn more about the criteria for Tree City USA and the Tree City USA program, please visit the Arbor Day Foundation.

Arbor DayArbor Day is dedicated to recognizing the importance of trees in our neighborhoods, towns, cities and daily life.  In Connecticut, Arbor Day occurs on the last Friday of April, as stipulated by state statute.  Organizations and individuals throughout the state use this day as an occasion to plant and honor trees, and to hold ceremonies celebrating the contributions made by trees. 

The Division of Forestry frequently participates in these celebrations.  For example, Arbor Day is the traditional date for the awarding of Tree City USA honors.

While Arbor Day initially came about through the efforts of J. Morton Sterling in Nebraska, citizens of Connecticut also made significant contributions to the development of Arbor Day.  One such individual was Birdsey Grant Northrop (PDF) of Kent, CT.   

Use of Wood from the Urban Forest:  In the spring of 2014, the Division of Forestry completed a study on the use of wood from the urban forest.  Based on this study, a publication entitled The Use of Wood from Urban and Municipal Trees was produced.  The results of this study were also summarized in a series of web pages on the use of urban and municipal wood

This study was funded by a grant from the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry.

To learn more about the Urban Forest Programs, contact:

Chris Donnelly
Urban Forestry Coordinator  
DEEP Forestry
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 424-3178
Additional resources:

Oak Lawn Cemetery and Arboretum - A successful ATB Grant

USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Web Page

Connecticut Tree Wardens

Tree Wardens Association of Connecticut

 UConn Extension Tree Warden Outreach Program

Connecticut Urban Forest Council

In Defense of Tall Trees (article in CT Woodlands magazine)

For questions relating to the health of individual trees and shrubs:

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

See also the information on the emerald ash borer and the Asian longhorned beetle.


Content last updated July 27, 2016.