The City of Greeley has been designated Tree City USA for over 40 years. The award, given by the National Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes communities across the nation for outstanding tree care based on four criteria. Communities must have an active forestry department or volunteer tree board, effective tree ordinances, host Arbor Day celebrations every year, and spend at least $1 per capita on community trees.
Greeley’s dedication to its trees stems from the Union Colony’s earliest days. Eager to establish trees in the new community, founder Nathan Meeker ordered a boxcar full of young trees from an Illinois nursery in June 1870. Despite his efforts to plant both shade and fruit trees, most did not survive the arid climate and died within the first two years. Greeley resident David Boyd later reflected, “It is worthy of remark that we at length learned how to grow evergreens, and many beautiful ones now adorn our lawns and sidewalks, and that Mr. Meeker kept planting until he, among the first, succeeded…The day may come when the hardier apple trees will also succeed.”
You can learn more about the City’s current tree planting efforts here.
Originally printed in the Greeley Tribune in 2016.
Written by Holly Berg, Curator of Exhibits
Updated 4/21/2023 by Katie Ross, Curator of Collections