The Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Statewide Arboretum provide key services to municipalities, green industry professionals, and community tree advocacy groups and organizations. The following programs are examples of initiatives that have been funded by the US Forest Service and the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
Trees for Nebraska Towns
The Trees for Nebraska Towns (TNT) program provided $2,000-$20,000 to support public space tree planting projects in communities throughout Nebraska. This effort allowed for funding support and technical assistance for projects that:
- Emphasized planting of large maturing trees in public spaces
- Planned for species diversity, sustainability, longevity, and resilience
- Included companion plantings
- Contributed habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects
- Increased awareness and appreciation for the community forests
Free Trees for Fall Planting
This program offers up to 10 trees per project. It was intended for those who don’t quite fit with our larger Trees for Nebraska Towns (TNT) program.
Projects can vary but need to be on public property and provide a clear public benefit. The only other requirement is that the recipient conducts a public outreach effort (community tree celebration, volunteer planting, newspaper article, etc.) and report activities to the NFS. We are especially interested in and encourage applicants to consider street tree plantings in neighborhoods of highest need.
- Planting trees in public spaces and areas of civic importance
Projects must be located in Nebraska and focused on a property of civic importance and that provides a clear public benefit. Eligible planting sites include street right-of-way, parks, school grounds, college campuses, the grounds of civic buildings, recreation areas, common areas, and cemeteries. Trees can be planted in front and side yards of private property if they will help shade public streets and sidewalks. Grant applicants must represent a group or organization.
Community Forest and Open Space
We are searching for municipalities and private landowners that are interested in partnering to expand public access to forests near their communities. Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, communities and qualifying nonprofits can apply for funding to establish “community forests” through the acquisition of private forestlands.
The grant program aims to protect forestland from conversion while providing access for recreation, education, wildlife protection, and sustainable forest management. Grants are available as a 50% cost-share match with a maximum award of $400,000. Matches can include cash, in-kind services, or donations.
To qualify properties must have private forestland that is:
- at least five acres in size,
- suitable to sustain natural vegetation,
- at least 75 percent forested
The lands must also be threatened by conversion to non-forest use, must be offered for sale by a willing seller, and if acquired by an eligible entity, must provide defined community benefits under Community Forest Program and allow public access.