Community Tree Planting Program

Community Tree Planting Program


The fall is a great time to plant trees so the EEC and City Forestry are coming together with community groups and volunteers to plant trees in Elkhart as a celebration of National NeighborWoods Month. We know that trees provide numerous benefits to communities; they make healthier cities by removing pollution, producing oxygen, reducing stormwater runoff and erosion. Trees can also increase property values and reduce heating and cooling costs, but community tree planting projects provide so much more. Coming together with your neighbors to plant trees rewards you with a sense of pride and a feeling of shared ownership of those trees and the community in which they are planted. Moreover, when volunteers work together to plant trees and improve their community they share stories, laughs, and a memorable experience that brings people together. Community tree plantings not only grow vibrant tree canopies in the community they grow the community!

For more information about the ElkhartWood Program, click here.

The Tree Planting program
As a piece of the ElkhartWood Program, the Community Tree Planting Program serves as the crucial outlet for the income generated though log sales. The logs are purchased on the understanding that the fee goes directly to community greening efforts through tree planting. Ultimately, the trees that have come down within the city have a value and by capturing that value through the log sales we can invest it directly into planting more trees in the city thus achieving full-circle forestry. The program is held during National NeighborWoods Month, which promotes planting and caring for trees during the month of October to help make communities across the country greener, healthier and more livable places for citizens.

Program Details
The funds that have been generated since log sales began in April 2014 will be used to purchase trees for planting within the Elkhart community, helping to replace trees lost as a result of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and other tree pests and diseases. The ElkhartWood program will help us plant trees on public land and in community spaces that are barren through a simple lack of trees or due to something more complicated such as large-scale tree removal as a result of pest infestations. Qualifying spaces may include schools, neighborhoods, community-owned parks, and other green spaces.  The long-term care and investment in the trees will be the responsibility of the applicant and a plan for that care and all necessary approvals and support must be provided before any tree planting can commence. It is imperative that there be sufficient consideration and planning for the trees to minimize the chance that trees will be lost because the needed support was lacking.

Preference is given to project sites located within the city of Elkhart and/or within the Elkhart and Concord Community School Systems.

How to Apply

Before submitting an application, be sure you can:

  • Plant a minimum of five trees (max. 15).
  • Obtain permission from the property owner, school board and/or administrators for the project.
  • If applying for a school, you must obtain approval from the principal or board and facilities department.
  • Commit to a three-year post-planting maintenance plan.
  • Provide refreshments for volunteers.

Project Sites are expected to:

  • Schedule a meeting with the City Forester to decide tree species and planting locations so that arrangements can be made for utility locates.
  • Develop and follow a 3–year maintenance plan in collaboration with the City Forester that includes regular watering, weeding, mulching, and pruning by the applicant.
  • Protect trees from lawn mowers, weed trimming and other potentially damaging activities.
  • Work with the Elkhart Environmental Center to include an education component for students/participants in conjunction with the project that includes the planting and care of trees and their value for the community (environmental, economic, and social).
  • Provide refreshments/meals, drinking water, and access to restrooms for participants and volunteers.
  • Provide publicity/promotion in collaboration with the Elkhart Environmental Center.
  • Provide volunteer support on planting day (at least one adult volunteer per tree).

The Elkhart Environmental Center and the Elkhart Forestry Division will:

  • Provide expertise and technical assistance prior to and on the day of the planting event.
  • Provide planting tools when needed.
  • Provide trees and tree planting materials (mulch, compost).
  • Work with the organization to provide educational tools and resources.
  • Assist with promotion of the event.
  • Assist with volunteer recruitment in addition to the applicant requirement.

This program is not intended to plant trees on city-owned land including city parks, which are maintained by the Forestry Division. It is intended to supplement the city tree planting program on publicly-owned land and community spaces such as schoolyards, neighborhoods, open space and community lots. Groups, organizations, and schools can submit an application to be considered for a tree planting event. 

Submit Application to:
Jamison Czarnecki
Environmental Center Supervisor
Elkhart Environmental Center
1717 East Lusher Avenue
Elkhart, IN 46516

To find out if your group qualifies for this program or for questions about the application process, please call Jamison Czarnecki at the Elkhart Environmental Center at 574.293.5070 or email @

City Forestry Program
The tree planting program is not intended to replace or supplement the City’s Forestry Division, which does tree planting every spring and fall on City property. The City has jurisdiction to plant, maintain, and remove trees between the sidewalk and the road, in city parks and in right-of-ways. This program will focus on planting in community spaces outside of that jurisdiction in order to enhance the urban forest and canopy cover in the city. It is also not intended to be a method for citizens to purchase private trees, but community groups who want to improve the health, value and environment through trees and who are willing to commit to the care of those trees for at least 3 years and ensure that they live and grow.

This program is not intended to plant trees on city-owned land including city parks, which are maintained by the Forestry Division. It is intended to supplement the city tree planting program in community areas and spaces such as schoolyards, neighborhoods, open space and community lots.

The Value and Importance of Trees in Cities
Trees enhance property value, provide immediate and long-term health benefits, reduce noise and pollution, and engage citizens in caring for their environment. Trees help build safer, closer, healthier, and higher-valued communities. The City of Elkhart Forestry Division is responsible for the care of trees on public lands, because it recognizes these values. It is because of this dedication and the overwhelming value of Elkhart’s urban forest that the City’s Forestry Division is also here to support our neighborhoods and communities in growing our urban forest over public, private, and corporate lands.