Norman earns recognition with 2023 Tree City USA status

The City of Norman has been recognized once more as a 2023 Tree City USA, earning praise for prioritizing the planting and care of trees from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Founded in 1976, Tree City USA is a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation, the United States Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters, according to a congratulatory letter from the Arbor Day Foundation. With this recognition, Norman joins a network of more than 3,600 Tree City USA communities nationwide that are committed to creating a brighter and greener future.

“Sometimes city trees can fade into the background, compared to cool new buildings and shiny infrastructure; it can take an ice storm or an overzealous utility to remind residents how great it is to have trees,” said City of Norman Forester Colin Zink. “Being a Tree City helps remind people that their front yard tree is part of something bigger, and that they are contributing to the well-being and civic pride of their entire community. We are so proud to receive this honor.”

Norman first earned this recognition in 2002. Since then, the Department of Parks & Recreation has continued to work alongside the community to make adequate investments in tree and park maintenance.

“The City invests in tree care by not only having an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist on staff, but also by having a Park Maintenance crew dedicated to solely to tree maintenance,” Zink explained. “Norman has provided that crew with specialized equipment – such as a bucket truck, chippers and stump grinders – which means that we can quickly and responsibly respond to any tree care issues in-house.”

Updating the City’s Tree Ordinance and Tree Inventory, as well as providing ongoing educational opportunities for community members interested in arboriculture, are two of many plans underway that will help shape the Urban Forestry Master Plan – a document intended to identify priority areas and guide development choices for years to come.

The City of Norman joins the rest of the country in celebrating Arbor Day on April 26, 2024. During a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Larry Heikkila expanded on the importance of this and presented a proclamation to Tree Board Chairperson Don Menzie. To learn more about Arbor Day or the Tree City USA program, visit For more information about the Division of Forestry at the City of Norman, visit