See how Reed City schools earned distinction in arbor education

RCAPS honored among 70 schools

OSCEOLA — Reed City Area Public Schools was recently named among one of 70 elementary, middle and high schools across the United States to earn recognition through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus K-12 program. 

The recognized schools span 31 states ,and in the first year of the program, more than 15,000 students participated in an Arbor Day celebration, and nearly 30,000 trees were planted. 

At RCAPS in March 2022, students at the middle school got an education on the importance of trees and watched loggers from nearby Doyle Forest Products harvest mature aspen and scotch pine in their school forest last year. 

The students helped plant 10,500 new red pine seedlings to replace the harvested trees. They also helped Reed City plant trees at a nearby city park this spring and celebrated Arbor Day on April 29.

RCAPS has a track record of taking care of its school forest and trees on campus.  Administrators worked with consulting forester Ken Ford, of Lake States Forestry, to develop a forest stewardship plan in 2019 for the 340-acre school forest.

The school system earned environmental certifications for its forest management from American Tree Farm System and Michigan Agricultural and Environmental Assurance Program with help from Osceola-Lake Conservation District forester Rick Lucas. 

The school system also obtained funding in 2021 from Arbor Day Foundation and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to plant the 10,500 trees in its school forest because trees and forests help protect water quality.

The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest membership nonprofit organization dedicated to tree planting. Its Tree Campus K-12 program, launched last year, encourages educators to create meaningful opportunities for students to interact with trees.

To earn the distinction, Reed City Schools met four goals including maintaining a Tree Campus team that is dedicated to achieving recognition, creating an education plan that connects students to trees and their global benefits, offering a hands-on experience that engages students in trees and the community, and holding an Arbor Day observance to celebrate trees within the school or the community. 

Superintendent Mike Sweet said the recognition is a good reason to maintain the school’s efforts. 

“With more than 200 acres of wooded properties, Reed City Schools has a responsibility to engage students with a wide variety of experiences involving forest products,” Sweet said. “Planting trees on campus is one way to do that.” 

Other Arbor Day Foundation recognition programs include Tree City USA, Tree Campus Higher Education, and Tree Campus Healthcare. Working together, the four programs celebrate tree planting efforts at nearly every community level.

To learn more and see the full list of recognized schools, visit