- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan communities, college campuses and utilities can seek a state designation honoring their commitment to high-quality tree care.

Applications for certification as a Tree City, Tree Campus or Tree Line USA must be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources by Jan. 16.

The Arbor Day Foundation sponsors the annual programs, which state forestry agencies administer. Successful applicants must meet foundation criteria.

The Tree City program began in 1976 as a bicentennial project promoting tree planting in urban areas. It recognizes the economic, health and aesthetic benefits trees provide.

The DNR says 123 communities, two utilities and four campuses won designations last year.

Michigan ranks ninth among states in the number of communities certified. They range in size from the city of Detroit to the village of Richland.

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