Gillett earns Tree City USA status

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Tree-planting ceremony planned Thursday morning

Gillett city officials and students will gather at Zippel Park on Thursday morning to plant trees and celebrate the community’s new status as a Tree City USA.

The Arbor Day event was made possible in part by a second-year Department of Natural Resources grant, said Clerk-Treasurer Kim Gruetzmacher. An allocation of trees provided by the DNR will be planted in Orby Jones Sports Complex, Honey Park and Zippel Park.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

Municipalities attain Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

“In the letter, it says the city of Gillett is one of more than 3,400 Tree City USAs with a combined population of 140 million,” Gruetzmacher told the City Council during its June 7 meeting.

It may come as a surprise in heavily forested Oconto County that the distinction is fairly new here.

“We’re the second city in Oconto County that’s a Tree City USA,” said Shane Rank, public works foreman. “The other city is the city of Oconto.”

The tree-planting ceremony is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Thursday in Zippel Park. The city sent a notice that a quorum of the City Council is likely to attend, although no official business will be taken.