Community Application

NIRPC is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2023 planting season through the CommuniTree-Community Tree Grant Program. The CommuniTree program partners are happy to coordinate with anyone interested in applying this spring to help with their planting plans and applications.


In most cases, trees must be planted in public spaces such as parks, schools, churches and along public roadway easements within northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed (MAP). If no public spaces are available, trees can be planted on private property. Restrictions apply and applicants considering this must coordinate with NIRPC and its CommuniTree partners prior to submitting an application. Eligible applicants include public entities, such as municipalities, schools, churches, and conservation, community or service organizations.


NIRPC’s current US Forest Service grant to purchase and subaward these trees requires a 20% non-federal local match requirement. Applicants receiving trees must track and submit in-kind services directly attributable to the planting, inventory and care of these trees. In general, NIRPC has found that hours spent planting and watering satisfy match requirements.

Tree Maintenance Agreement

The first three years following planting are critical to the tree’s establishment and long-term health. Applicants receiving trees must agree to at least a two-year watering program. The trees generally need to be watered weekly with, 5-15 gallons per tree throughout the growing season. Drought conditions may require a third year of watering. Two to four inches of mulch needs to be properly applied at planting and checked each year. Click the following link to download a copy of the USDA Forest Service Tree Owner’s Manual for more information on tree planting and maintenance.

Tree Inventory Agreement

Tree recipients are required to inventory the trees they receive and plant. NIRPC’s GIS-based survey can be completed in the field during tree planting using a smartphone with GPS tracking enabled. The survey typically takes less than one minute to complete per tree if done at the time of planting. Information collected includes organization name, tree species, nursery, and planting year. The data will be used to create an online map showing planting locations and species. Training will be available on how to complete the survey.


Application due date:  Friday, July 28, 2023

Tree planting & care workshop and tree pick up date: September 7, 2023


Forms:  PDF (fillable)  | WORD

Applications may be submitted electronically to Jen Birchfield at Please include organization name followed by CommuniTree Fall 2023 Application in the subject line. (Example: Hammond CommuniTree Fall 2023 Application)

Alternatively, applications can be mailed to:

Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission
ATTN: Jen Birchfield
6100 Southport Rd.
Portage, IN 46368

Program Goal & Funding

CommuniTree is an alliance of businesses, not-for-profits, universities, and government agencies that has been working together since 2016 to create a more diverse, healthy, and sustainable urban forest across northwest Indiana. As of 2022, CommuniTree partners have planted over 10,000 trees, engaged over 2,500 volunteers, and trained more than 20 youth in urban forestry. While CommuniTree serves all of Northwest Indiana (Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties), efforts are focused on underserved communities within the region. 

Funding for the CommuniTree Community Tree Grant Program is made possible through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission by the USDA Forest Service.