SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - It's official! Schofield Barracks has achieved prestigious Tree City USA status, following a two-year collaborative effort between U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's Directorate of Public Works, Island Palm Communities, and Actus Lend Lease.

"Attaining Tree City USA (status)Aca,!E+was not a simple task," said Claire Ridding-Johnston, project director of Island Palm Communities. "It required a commitment by local garrison and Island Palm Communities' leadership, as well as several staff and vendors who volunteered their time to see the project through. It's also a long-term commitment by everyone involved to follow program standards, which are required in order to maintain Tree City USA designation every year."

Many benefits come from being a Tree City, including the creation of a framework for action and education, a positive public image and simple civic pride. The program helps support the mission of the Arbor Day Foundation, which is dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees through conservation and education programs.

To qualify as a Tree City USA community, a town or city must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. These standards, established to ensure that every qualifying community would have a viable tree management plan and program, include the following requirements:

Aca,!AcEstablishment of a "Tree Board,"
Aca,!AcDevelopment of a "Tree Care Ordinance,"
Aca,!AcCreation of a "Community Forestry Program" with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita, and
Aca,!AcHosting an annual Arbor Day Observance and proclamation.

Join U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii and Island Palm Communities for a grand celebration commemorating our new Tree City USA status. The event will be held Nov. 5, 10-11 a.m., at Schofield's Kaena Community Center.

Following a presentation by Tree City USA and a tree planting ceremony, children will be invited to plant their own seedling and enjoy light refreshments.

RSVP for the event by Oct. 31 on IPC's Community Calendar.

(EditorAca,!a,,cs Note: This article appeared in the Hawaii Army WeeklyAca,!a,,cs Oct. 22 special insert on sustainability. Click here to view the entire 8-page feature.)