State officials to honor Richfield’s tree program

by Sara Hill

Richfield will celebrate its 27-year status as a “Tree City USA” with a commemorative event set for June 9 on the grounds of Village Hall. Richfield was scheduled to be recognized in 2020 for its 25th anniversary, but that event was canceled due to the pandemic.

The Tree City USA Awards Program will include two meals, presentations by local government leaders and representatives from organizations including the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the West Creek Land Conservancy and Summit County Bee Keepers Association. Vendor booths, nature walks, door prizes and an awards presentation will be part of the day. Northeast Ohio “Tree City USA” cities, utilities and campuses will also attend.  

To become a “Tree City USA,” municipalities must fulfill four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters: establishing a tree board or department, approving a tree care ordinance, providing local support at or above $2 per capita to keep city trees healthy and sustainable, and hosting an annual Arbor Day ceremony inviting citizens to join together and celebrate the benefits of community trees, according to

In Richfield, this annual Arbor Day event takes place the Saturday closest to Earth Day, recognized globally on April 22. Richfield Village purchases more than 1,000 trees and hosts a free tree giveaway featuring several varieties and species. On this day, residents are invited to take and plant a tree, and pick a local street to clean by removing trash and other debris.

Richfield’s official “Tree City USA” designation sprouted nearly 30 years ago during the administration of former mayor and current Council Member Ralph Waszak, the chair and council’s representative to Richfield’s Tree and Landscape Commission.

The village logo features the redbud tree, which is the community’s official tree.

Cost to attend the public event is $40 per person. Registration can be done online at or in-person at Village Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road. Deadline to register is June 2.

The event begins at 8:15 a.m. on June 9, with check-in/registration and breakfast. It will continue through the day, concluding at 2:20 with door prizes and closing remarks.

Being a designated “Tree City USA” is a special recognition local leaders take great pride in. More than 3,600 communities across the nation have attained the designation for one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s oldest programs, according to

“It’s really pretty cool,” said Mayor Michael Wheeler of Richfield’s status. “Clean air is number one to us, and number two is trees. They absorb and filter CO2. They provide shade, cool your house and reduce your heating and cooling bills. Trees serve as wind blocks, and we’re leaving them for the kids. I love trees.” ∞