COLLEGE STATION — In an effort to help cities, towns and community groups manage their urban forest, the Texas Forest Service is offering more than $200,000 in funding to support local tree programs.

The competitive grants range from $1,000 to $30,000 and must be matched dollar-for-dollar. Applications may be downloaded from the Texas Forest Service Web site and must be received by 5 p.m. July 26 to be considered.

“We call them ‘partnership’ grants because they can be a catalyst for improving the whole community,” said Pete Smith, program coordinator. “Grant money is paired with the energy and effort of city staff and local volunteers to take stock of their urban forest, plant new trees, protect existing ones or improve their care.”

Applicants may be local or state governments and nonprofit groups. Grants of up to $30,000 are available for cities to hire a professional forester to care for municipal trees. Other projects eligible for funding include tree ordinance development, public tree inventories or management plans, volunteer programs, and the production of educational materials. Funding priority is given to projects that have a long-term impact on the community.

“Texas is now an urban state, with more than 80 percent of the people living on just three percent of the land,” said John Giedraitis, state urban forestry coordinator for the Texas Forest Service. “Providing grants and technical assistance to communities are two of the best ways we can improve the lives of urban Texans.”

For more information, contact the nearest Texas Forest Service office, call the forest resource development department in College Station at (979) 458-6650 or visit online at http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu.