I saw the item in the Quad City Times, "Bettendorf named Tree City USA." What does that mean? It's not the first time I've seen a city recognized as a Tree City. Some cities tend to use that moniker as a source of civic pride. They'll bolt a sign proclaiming their status next to the city limits sign or the sign that welcomes you to town. Here's what I found out:

Tree City USA is a program from the Arbor Day Association that's greening communities across the country. It's a movement that provides the framework for urban communities to manage and expand their public trees. Tree City USA Cities must meet four criteria to gain and keep the status. A city must have a tree board or department. A tree care ordinance that authorizes the tree board and or department, and gives them authority over the care and maintenance of public trees. A community forestry program with a budget toward the planting, care and removal of public trees. An Arbor Day observance or proclamation where city officials pledge support for their city's tree program. I wish it wasn't such a dry answer, but there it is.

In the Quad Cities area Bettendorf, Davenport, DeWitt, Moline and Rock Island are all Tree City USA cities for 2017. Learn more about the Tree City USA program here. Think about that the next time you're sitting under a tree at your local park!