Urban Forestry Grants up to $5,000 Available

DOVER, Del. (November 4, 2022)Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is now accepting applications for up to $5,000 in matching grants for tree planting and management projects on public land and community open space. Urban and community grants are open to all Delaware municipalities, homeowner associations, and certified nonprofits, including schools and churches. There are also grant opportunities specifically for areas within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. To find out if your property is eligible, click the “Find Your Watershed Address Tool” below. Complete guidelines on all grant programs are at de.gov/treegrants. The deadline is March 3, 2023 and all submissions must be via online application.

“Trees have the power to transform communities. The grant program’s goal is to increase tree canopy throughout Delaware, along with the many benefits it provides. Funding for this year is very good and we hope to receive requests from interested municipalities, homeowner groups, and nonprofit organizations across the First State.” said Kesha Braunskill, Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator. “Quality projects that meet program guidelines have a good chance of getting approved in this grant cycle.”

The urban forestry grant program helps communities harness the numerous natural benefits of trees: cleaner air and water, energy savings, increased property values and civic pride, as well as reduced storm water runoff and flooding. Funding is provided by the U.S. Forest Service and state funds.

In 2022, the UCF program awarded $140,451 for 31 community tree projects.

Source: Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program

Christ Memorial Baptist Church Tree Planting

Urban and Community Grants

Requests must be a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $5,000 in only one of two project categories: tree planting or tree management (i.e., professional tree inventory). Grants require a 50-50 match in either cash (non-federal funds) or in-kind services, including volunteer or staff time, equipment rental, or supplies.

Applications are evaluated after the deadline by a committee of the Delaware Community Forestry Council. Eligible projects must be performed on public lands within the community. Priority will be given to first-time applicants, Tree City USA and Tree Friendly Communities, and projects with a focus on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Applicants are required to set up a site visit before submitting their application with the Urban and Community Forestry Program, who can review their project and answer any questions.
  • Site visits must be scheduled a minimum of a week in advance.
  • No site visits will be done after February 17, 2023.
  • Appointments will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Final day to make an appointment will be February 10, 2023.
  • Deadline to submit application online is March 3, 2023 by 4:30 p.m.

Grants at a Glance

  • Matching grants range from $500 up to $5,000
  • Requires a 50-50 match in cash (non-federal funds) or in-kind services
  • One project in one category: tree planting or tree management (inventory)
  • Project must be on public land or open space
  • EIN Number required – no payment to individuals
  • Site visit by urban forestry staff must take place before project submission
  • Site visits requested at least a week ahead by emailing the UCF Program
  • Deadline to apply via the online application form is March 3, 2023 at 4:30 p.m.

Guidelines and Forms

Online UCF Application

Chesapeake Bay Tree Grants

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Map

The Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program also offers tree planting grants specifically to applicants in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is the nation’s largest estuary and a priority for conservation and restoration efforts. The Chesapeake Bay Basin in Delaware includes 15 sub-watersheds located along the western part of the state. You can find out if your property is located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by using the Find Your Watershed Address tool below and entering your address in the search box to the upper right. Click in the map area outside of the box and it will list the watershed and basin in which the the property is located. The orange and peach color indicates the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Requirements for Chesapeake Tree Grants

  • Must be a municipality or certified 501(c)(3) organization based in the State of Delaware. Common types include nonprofit religious, educational, charitable, scientific, or literary organizations.
  • Must own land located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with a parcel registered in your organization’s name that appears on your county’s tax parcel list (must provide parcel number).
  • Must provide a 50-50 cost-share match in either cash or in-kind services. Sufficient volunteer hours for planning, organizing, and carrying out the project can meet this requirement without a need for cash.
  • Be sure to check if your location is in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by using the “Find Your Watershed Address” tool.
Find Your Watershed Address

Benefits of Chesapeake Planting Grants

  • Grants can be a no-cost or low-cost way to beautify and enhance your community or your organization’s campus and grounds
  • Tree planting projects can bring your community or organization together to benefit the environment

Technical Assistance

Delaware Forest Service staff can offer assistance at every stage of the tree-planting project:

  • Meet with applicants to discuss their project
  • Identify a suitable site for the tree planting
  • Select the best species for the particular location
  • Help calculate volunteer hours and services for match to reduce project costs
  • Schedule a planting day

How to Apply

If you think your town, church, or organization would benefit from a Chesapeake Bay Tree Planting Grant and you can meet the grant requirements for a 50-50 cost match (can be met by volunteer hours at no cost to your community or organization), then you are invited to contact the Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program. You can apply by clicking on the application link below:

Chesapeake Application

2,075 Seedlings Planted for the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial

Delaware's Air Force Crew was among the volunteers who assisted at the tree planting event.
Sixth District Councilman David Carter and Del State student Lauren Smith work together to plant a seedling.

TOWNSEND, Del. (September 21, 2022) – On September 17, over 100 volunteers planted 2,075 trees at the Blackbird State Forest for the Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Tree Planting. This initiative will provide scenic beauty, enhance wildlife habitat, fight invasive species, and improve water quality in the critical Chesapeake Bay Watershed. This tree planting was part of a broader program to commemorate the 200th birthday year of Harriet Tubman in 1822 and part of International Underground Railroad Month.

“This tree planting event along with the guided hikes (held separately), generated a lot of interest and positive feedback for more programming like this from Delaware citizens. We were fortunate enough to partner in these events with a cultural interpretive guide Dionne Patterson (UGR3day Underground Railroad Experiences Inc.), DelDOT Byways Program, and the Underground Railroad Coalition of Delaware,” said Delaware Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator Kesha Braunskill. “Our forestry staff did an outstanding job in preparing the site for the planting to take place. And volunteers from all over the state did an awesome job getting all the trees planted in under three hours. These planting events are great for community involvement, and everyone gets to see the fruits of their labor for years to come as they come back to see the forest they helped create.”

The planting project allowed the Delaware Forest Service to continue its goal of increasing tree canopy, as well as increasing the community’s knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of forests and forest management. Volunteers who assisted included teachers and students from various school groups, honor society students, Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops, and volunteers from Delaware’s Air Force Crew.

Blackbird State Forest covers nearly 6,000 acres in southern New Castle County and is a stop on the historic Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. The project was funded by the U.S. Forest Service and its Chesapeake Bay Program and the Delaware Forest Service and its Urban and Community Program.

To find out how to get involved in future tree plantings or other tree-inspired programs, visit https://de.gov/treeevents.

More photographs are available on Flickr, https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA7XEp

150th Anniversary of Arbor Day

Governor Carney and students planted new native trees on campus.

“Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative” Aims to Plant One Million Trees

Photos at Delaware Forest Service  Flickr Album

Governor John C. Carney, Jr. celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day at Rehoboth Elementary School by spotlighting his “Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative” in a ceremony attended by members of the General Assembly, state and local officials, schoolchildren, and their families. Governor Carney recognized two of Delaware’s 14 Tree City USA communities – the City of Rehoboth Beach for 31 years and Dover Air Force Base for 30 years – and also honored student winners in the annual Arbor Day School Poster Contest. The event culminated with the planting of 10 native trees on the school campus.

Gov. Carney and Gustavsen
Governor carney took photos with New Castle County kindergarten poster winner Issac Gustavsen and his family.

Featured speakers included Rehoboth Elementary Principal Dr. Doris Person, Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills, Education Secretary Dr. Mark Holodick, Agriculture Secretary Michael T. Scuse, DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin, and Delaware State Forester Michael Valenti. Honored guests included Speaker of the House Peter Schwartzkopf (D-14), Senator Ernesto B. Lopez (R-6), Senator David L. Wilson (R-18), Rep. Stephen Smyk (R-20), and Rehoboth city officials.

“Last year, we introduced Delaware’s Climate Action Plan  to confront the threat of climate change on our coastlines and across our state,” said Governor John Carney. “Reducing emissions is essential to improving the state’s environmental health and the Tree for Every Delaware Initiative will help us in this effort.”

Rehoboth Poster Winners
Governor Carney joined Rehoboth Elementary School principal Dr. Doris Person, teacher Jacqueline Kisiel, and school poster winners after the event.

“What I love about Arbor Day is that we are teaching our children the importance of trees and the environment not just in theory but with hands-on action. Planting a tree is a simple act that we can do together as a community on a day like today and something many students and their families can do at home or in their community,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said.

“Arbor Day is a perfect day to highlight TEDI – the Governor’s Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative – with its goal of planting one million trees, approximately one for every Delawarean,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We encourage Delawareans of all ages to join us in planting trees to reach this goal and help create a healthier planet.”

Delaware State Forester Michael Valenti recognized Mayor Stan Mills and the City of Rehoboth Beach for 31 years as a Tree City USA. Dover Air Force Base accepted recognition from Gov. Carney for its 30 years as a Tree City USA. View the complete list of Delaware’s 14 Tree City USA communities.

“This year’s poster contest theme is “Trees are Terrific – for Today and Tomorrow!” highlighting how trees we plant today ensure a better life for us now and for countless generations to come,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The Department of Agriculture, the Delaware Forest Service, and its Urban and Community Program work year-round with citizens all over Delaware to harness the power of trees to transform communities. We have a staff of professional foresters who offer technical assistance to help homeowners select the best tree species, plant the right tree in the right place, and learn how to nurture and care for their trees.”

Fifth-grader Lilly Bartlett of Allen Frear Elementary School in Camden was the state winner of the Arbor Day Poster Contest. A record number of entries participated this year: almost 9,500 students from more than 75 schools submitted posters.  View the complete gallery at http://de.gov/arbordaypostercontest.

State Winner Lilly Bartlett
Lilly Bartlett of Allen Frear Elementary in Camden was the State Winner of the Arbor Day Poster Contest, shown here with her parents Stephanie and John Bartlett.
Girl Scout Troop #172
Governor Carney, Rehoboth Mayor Stan Mills, and cabinet officials recognized Girl Scout Troop #172 for helping wrap seedlings for this year’s Arbor Day Poster Contest participants.
Gov. Carney ARBOR DAY
Governor Carney highlight the TEDI program and stressed the need to plant more trees in the First State.
DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin highlighted the Governor’s “Tree for Every Delawarean Initiative” and the effort to plant one million trees in the First State.
Rehoboth and Dover Air Force Base Tree City USAs
Rehoboth Beach celebrated 31 years as a Tree City USA while Dover Air Force Base reached the 30 year mark this year.

Check out the previous year’s winners:

For more information, email: Ashley MelvinArbor Day observances are also an integral part of community recognition programs such as Tree Campus USA, Tree City USA, and Delaware’s Tree Friendly Community Award, as well as qualifying for a financial award from the Urban Grant Program. Past Delaware Arbor Day celebrations: