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Urban Forestry Startup Grants

Urban forestry startup grants support small projects focused on initial steps in community tree care and management. A long-term goal for applicants should be development of a sustained community tree management program.


Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and require a 50–50 match (total project cost range is $2,000 to $10,000).

The project sponsor must initially fund 100% of project costs with cash, in-kind contributions and/or donations. Upon completion, the project sponsor requests reimbursement for 50% of eligible costs (501[c][3] nonprofit organizations may request an advance when a grant is awarded).

Only one startup grant may be awarded to an applicant per year.

Projects begin Jan. 1 and must be completed within one calendar year.

Who may apply

Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations who meet two or more of the following conditions:

  • Starting, or recently started, a community-wide tree care program.
  • Resuming tree care and management activities that were once a regular community-wide program that ended.
  • Community tree care (planting, pruning, removal) by staff or contractors is infrequently performed.
  • Involvement and support for community trees and their care by boards/committees, elected officials, organizations and/or residents is low to non-existent.
  • There are no trained staff, contractors or volunteers authorized to handle, advise or oversee community tree care and management.

A maximum of three urban forestry startup grants may be awarded to an applicant within the lifetime of the startup grant program. To be eligible for a third startup grant, an applicant must either: a) have an existing tree inventory; or b) use the grant process to complete one.

Eligible projects and costs

Projects must relate to community tree management, maintenance or education within Wisconsin cities, villages or other areas of concentrated development.

Projects by 501(c)(3) organizations must focus on their community’s trees.

Projects may consist of no more than three of the following eight components:

  • tree planting;
  • tree pruning;
  • tree removal;
  • tree inventory;
  • insect and disease treatment;
  • staff training;
  • urban forestry management plan; and
  • information/education/outreach (may include forming a tree board, writing a tree ordinance, staff and/or volunteer training, or improving awareness of the importance of community trees and their management).

Eligible costs are those necessary for completing the project and incurred during the project period. Costs must be documented, reasonable and consistent with the project scope. Examples include:

  • salaries and fringe benefits of people working directly on the project;
  • cost of services, supplies, equipment or facilities used on the project; and
  • value of labor, services, supplies, equipment or facilities donated to the project by third parties.

How to apply

Review the urban forestry grant application guide [PDF] for more details.

  • Obtain a resolution from your governing body designating a representative to file the application and handle all grant actions on behalf of the applicant.
  • Complete application form 8700-298 [PDF].
  • 501(c)(3) organizations must include a copy of their constitution, bylaws or articles of incorporation, unless already on file with the DNR urban forestry program.
Many current browsers do not open PDF forms properly. Follow the instructions below to open the forms on this page.
  1. From a desktop computer, download the PDF form (right-click on the link, then select "Save link as" or "Save target as").
  2. Make a note of the file location and file name so you can access the file from your device. Do not double-click the file.
  3. Open the Adobe Reader software then select "File > Open" then browse to the PDF file you saved on your device.
See PDF help for additional information.

Submit your application and authorizing resolution by electronic format (preferred).

  • Print
    Review, edit if needed and file.
  • Save
    File name should represent organization name and urban forestry grant year.
  • Submit by email
    You will be given the opportunity to edit the message and provide attachments to an email addressed to

Or, you can mail hard copies or fax to:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Urban Forestry Grants
518 West Somo Ave
Tomahawk, WI 54487

Applications must be sent or postmarked by 11:59 p.m., Oct. 2.


For more information or assistance, contact your urban forestry coordinator or email the program mailbox at

You may also want to check out our consultants page.