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Urban Forestry Commission


Welcome to the City of Springfield Urban Forestry Commission's (UFC) website. At the Commission, we love trees and hope you do too. Trees provide many benefits to individuals and communities, including cleaning air, contributing to our health, adding value to homes, reducing neighborhood temperatures, reducing storm water run-off, saving energy, and improving business. Each dollar invested in tree planting returns four to five dollars to the community. These are some of the reasons Springfield plants several hundred trees a year. Unfortunately, the City has to remove several hundred dying and dead trees a year. Providing input to the City on issues relating to trees is the Urban Forestry Commission's primary mission.

Although the Commission's first year of existence was interrupted by the Covid-19 shelter in place order, we've had a number of accomplishments to date: hosting tree/nature seminars (pre-Covid-19), developing a tree plan, reviewing the City Arborist's Arboricultural Specifications Manual, and distributing over 100 oak trees for planting by residents.

Visit this site to learn more about our activities, participate in educational offerings, and get answers to your tree-related questions. We would love to hear from you.

2022-2023 UFC Commission
Jan Von Qualen, Chair

  Mission & Responsibilities

  1. amendments to the Springfield tree ordinance, Arboricultural Specifications Manual, and the urban forestry plan;
  2. policy concerning selections, planting, maintenance, and removal of trees, shrubs, and other plants on city-owned property;
  3. allocation of funds, grants or gifts to the City of Springfield intended for use by the city arborist, and all expenditures of said funds by the city arborist;
  4. establishment or presentation of educational and/or informational horticultural programs for the City of Springfield;
  5. development of policies regarding the arborist's duties;
  6. issuance of permits or licenses required by the City Code in accordance with the Code or procedures, Rules, or regulations approved by the Commission; and
  7. development of procedures, rules, or regulations pursuant to City Code.

  Greening up Harvard Park Elementary School: Urban Forestry Commission Shares Trees with the School




Dr. Hayes, Harvard Park Elementary School Principal, has a green vision for his school grounds and students. He has the idea that trees’ shade facilitate outdoor activities that reduce stress in young people, which in turn, according to research, may improve school performance. What principal could argue with that? So Principal Hayes reached out to the Springfield Urban Forestry Commission, and the Chair Jan Von Qualen and member Susan Allen visited the school to determine how it could be ‘greened’ up at no school expense. Within a month, Susan brought the school four trees donated by Springfield Audubon Society (who got them from Sangamon County tree lover Kevin Veara). More greening up to come, and the sky’s the limit for Harvard Park Elementary school students. Are there other principals in Springfield interested in the free green school improvement program?

  Tree Inventory 2022

The City of Springfield is pleased to announce the work done towards completion of a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service through the direction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This work includes updating the City tree ordinance, inventory the trees on City property, and develop a new urban forest management plan. These efforts ensure the proper management and protection of the city’s urban forest, a green asset worth several millions of dollars, as determined by Great Lakes Urban Forestry Management Company, the company completing the tree inventory.

The tree inventory of a portion of the northeast quadrant has been completed. Click here to view the Partial Tree Inventory report done by the UFC. The Tree Protection Ordinance was passed by the Springfield City Council on July 5, 2022.

NEW! View the online Tree Inventory here.

  UFC Announcements

2023 Tree Planting Grant

The City of Springfield together with the UFC announced it was awarded a U.S. Forest Service/Illinois Department of Natural Resources tree planting grant in the amount of $25,000. These funds will be matched by the City of Springfield and fund approximately 130 new trees. The trees will be planted in the northeast quadrant of the City over the next two years. This is the same area where the 2022 Tree Inventory took place.

City of Springfield Receives National Recognition

The City received national recognition in the Arbor Day Foundation’s publication Arbor Day (March/April 2023), for its work in supporting the urban forest. The newsletter reports that Springfield has a thriving urban forest, received Tree City USA status, and won six growth awards from the Arbor Day Foundation. The publication quotes Mike Brunk, urban forestry administrator for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as saying the City’s standout accomplishments over the years include the creation of an Urban Forestry Commission, winning grant funding for tree inventory work, recycling of all leaf and wood debris from municipal tree care, and a net gain in trees planted over trees removed. These accomplishments are the result of the efforts of the Mayor, City Council, the Public Works Department, and Urban Forestry Commission.

plant a tree




May 2022 Tree Planting by UFC

The Urban Forestry Commission and volunteers got together May 1, 2022, to plant trees in the Harvard Park area of Springfield. Each Sunday in May, except for Mother’s Day, tree planting continued around town, thanks to the UFC. In April and continuing in May, the UFC is gave away trees across the City to add to the urban forestry canopy and to beautify Springfield. If you need assistance planting a tree, contact UFC chair, at

April’s 2022 Virtual Discussion

On April 7, the UFC hosted a virtual discussion on Oak Tree Research and the Advantage of Native Plants. Amy McEuen, Association Professor and Chair of the UIS Biology Department and Lucia Vazquez, Professor of Biology and UIS Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, led the discussion. This recording of this discussion is available online.

  Springfield Named Tree City USA®

The Arbor Day Foundation announced that Springfield, Illinois was named a 2020 Tree City USA in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. The city also received a Tree City, USA Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and higher level of tree care.

Springfield achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program's four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

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.

  2022 Tree Inventory

The City of Springfield, in partnership with the UFC, was awarded a $20,000 grant through the Morton Arboretum to conduct a Tree Inventory. The inventory began in January 2022 in the northeast quadrant of the city and done by the Great Lakes Urban Forestry Management. The inventory focused in the area bounded by Camp Sangamon Road on the north; Walnut Street on the west; South Grand Avenue on the south and the City limits, east of I-55, on the east. Trees on City-owned property and right-of-ways were inventoried and completed around the end of January.

  Ask an Expert

Q. What are the best trees to plant in Springfield?

A. That's a good question and the best answer is, it depends on the location. Some nice small trees that would do well in Springfield are: Red Bud, Japanese Maple, and Autumn Brilliance Service Berry. Some recommendations for medium sized trees are: Magnolia, American Hornbeam, and Ironwood. Larger tree recommendations are: Bur Oak, Silver Linden, and Horse Chestnut. Remember that diversity of trees planted is wise, so that disease or insect predators, such as Dutch Elm Disease or the emerald ash borer, don't decimate tree populations across the city.


Ruth Oliver, a tree advocate, and Susan Allen, a UFC member, had a sunny day on September 15, 2021, to add tree messages to a public mural on Third Street between Adams and Monroe Streets in Springfield.

Scheduled Board Meetings

Meeting Date Location Attachments
4/11/2024 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St, Room 203
3/14/2024 at 3:30 PM 300 S 7th, Room 203
2/8/2024 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St, Room 203
1/24/2024 at 1:00 PM 300 S. 7th St, Room 203
10/11/2023 at 3:30 PM 300 S 7th, Room 203
8/10/2023 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St., Rm 203 & Zoom
6/8/2023 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St., Rm 203 & Zoom
4/13/2023 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St., Rm 203 & Zoom
3/9/2023 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St, Rm 203 & Zoom
2/9/2023 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St, Rm 203 & Zoom
11/9/2022 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St, Rm 203 & Zoom
9/14/2022 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St, Rm 203 & Zoom
7/13/2022 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th St, Rm 203 & Zoom
5/11/2022 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th, Room 203
3/9/2022 at 3:30 PM 300 S 7th, Room 203
1/12/2022 at 3:30 PM 300 S. 7th, Rm 203 & Zoom
11/5/2021 at 2:00 PM Via Zoom (see Agenda)
10/20/2021 at 3:30 PM 300 S 7th, Room 203 & via zoom
9/8/2021 at 4:00 PM Via Zoom (see Agenda)
7/14/2021 at 4:00 PM Via Zoom (see Agenda)
5/12/2021 at 4:00 PM Via Zoom (see Agenda)
3/10/2021 at 2:00 PM Via Zoom (see Agenda)
1/13/2021 at 2:00 PM Via Zoom
11/4/2020 at 2:00 PM Via Zoom
9/9/2020 at 5:00 PM Council Chambers, 300 S. 7th
8/12/2020 at 2:00 PM Via Zoom must register
6/10/2020 at 2:00 PM Pre-register for Zoom Mtg see attachment
5/21/2020 at 10:00 AM Zoom Mtg see dial in info
3/13/2020 at 3:00 PM 300 S. 7th, Public Works Conf Rm 203
3/11/2020 at 5:00 PM Council Chambers, 300 S. 7th
2/21/2020 at 3:00 PM 300 S. 7th, Conf Rm 203
2/7/2020 at 3:00 PM 300 S. 7th, Room 203