Zionsville, known for its tree-lined streets and 500+ acres of parks, has been named a 2022 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is the 22nd consecutive year Zionsville has achieved this distinction, which honors the Town’s commitment to effective urban forest management.
In achieving the Tree City USA recognition, Zionsville met the program’s four requirements: a tree board – People of Zionsville for the Aesthetics of Zionsville (PZAZ), a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day proclamation.
This year Zionsville also received the Tree City USA Growth Award. This award recognizes environmental improvement and a high level of tree care through additions or improvements to tree programs. The Town has received the Growth Award only one other year in 2012.
The Town supports and encourages the addition of trees through several initiatives. In partnership with the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute and Davey Resource Group, the Town completed a tree canopy assessment in 2022. With an expanded membership, PZAZ developed a “Z’Tree of the Year” contest to highlight the importance and beauty of urban trees. PZAZ also created “More Trees Please” promotional stickers to hand out during community events.
The Zionsville Parks and Recreation Department developed many programs to encourage tree plantings and the removal of invasive species. In 2022, the department cleared more than 3.5 acres of invasive species across Zionsville’s parks and trails. Local scouts worked alongside Parks Department staff to plant tree saplings in the community nursery located at Heritage Trail Park. Also in 2022, the department offered residents and businesses the opportunity to donate trees to be planted along the Big-4 Rail Trail northern extension. Additionally, the Parks Department oversaw a large-scale reforestation effort at Overley-Worman Park, with more than 3,000 trees planted. In celebration of Earth Day and Arbor Day, the department is once again hosting Greenfest at Zionsville Town Hall on April 22, 2023.
“We achieved our 22nd Tree City recognition thanks to the collaborative efforts of PZAZ, the Parks and Recreation Department and the Department of Public Works,” said Mayor Emily Styron. “I want to honor PZAZ founder and community leader Lana Funkhouser who was instrumental in starting Arbor Week and the Tree City designation in Zionsville.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the United States Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. Residents are encouraged to celebrate Arbor Day on April 28, 2023, and support efforts to protect Zionsville’s trees and woodlands by planting and caring for trees. Resources are available at www.arborday.org/takeaction/volunteer/organize.cfm.