Energizing Your Future

ATC supports urban forestry in Wisconsin

American Transmission Co. is helping to support urban forests in Wisconsin through our Community Planting Program grants.

Urban forests make up a significant amount of America’s tree canopy. Over 140 million acres of America’s forests are located in cities, towns and villages. These trees provide essential benefits for people and improve urban wildlife habitats.

Athens (Marathon County)

The village of Athens planted nearly 50 trees to create a natural trail causeway and reforest a section of open field in the popular Erbach Park, as well as added trees along a village street.

Erbach Park contains over seven miles of trails and the grant from ATC helped better define one trail that runs through a large grassy area without using signs. By reforesting a section of open field, the village also reduces the amount of lawn it has to mow. Trees were also planted along a village street to help separate an industrial area from a recreational area, provide shade and improve wildlife habitat.

The trees planted were a mix of lilac bushes, lilac trees, white pine, river birch, standard white birch, new edition elm, white swamp oak and flowering crabs.

Bayside (Milwaukee and Ozaukee Counties)

The village of Bayside, located in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties, planted approximately 150 trees this summer with support from ATC. Through Bayside’s Adopt-A-Tree Program, village residents volunteer or agree to have a tree planted in the public right-of-way on their property. ATC’s Community Planting Program grant helped to offset the cost of the trees that enhance the village’s urban forest.

The village and each resident work to identify an agreed upon location for tree planting in the spring, after which village crews plant the tree, place a layer of mulch, provide initial care and maintenance. Beginning in the fall, the resident accepts care and maintenance responsibility for the tree. This has been a highly successful and well-received program that provides numerous benefits.

The trees planted were a mix of quaking aspen, triumph elm, Japanese lilac, Shumard oak, and dawn Redwood. Since 2015, the village has planted nearly 500 trees as part of this signature public-private partnership program.

Belleview (Brown County)

The village of Bellevue planted eight trees in its arboretum along 1.2 miles of the East River Trail, which connects five communities in the greater Green Bay area. The ATC grant supported the planting of a shingle oak, dawn redwood, Frontier elm, tamarack, eastern hemlock, magnolia, American hophornbeam and Ohio buckeye.

Once complete, the arboretum will include over 100 different tree varieties. Started in 2005, the arboretum contains approximately 180 trees. The completed arboretum will enhance the beauty, and serenity of the East River Trail, as well as serve as a community educational resource.

Madison (Dane County)

The city of Madison’s Community Development Authority Housing Operations Division partnered with the Urban Tree Alliance to plant nearly 50 trees on CDA properties in nine southwest Madison neighborhoods. The trees planted were a mix of hackberry, red bud, London plane, sugar maple, swamp white oak, Kentucky coffee trees, yellow wood, golden rain tree, Turkish filbert, and honey locust.

The CDA administers 742 housing units and 115 multi-family housing units at 40 locations in Madison for low-income families, people over the age of 50, and individuals with disabilities. The UTA is a Madison-based not-for-profit made up of arborists and advocates dedicated to the growth and preservation of a diversified urban forest canopy. Together the two organizations have planted approximately 130 trees on CDA properties since 2019.

ATC’s planting program

ATC’s Community Planting Program enables us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that beautify the landscape in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.

The program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000.

ATC accepts applications from June 1 through Sept. 30, and award recipients are selected and notified by the end of the year. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at