Altus AFB named Tree City USA


U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ernesto Racoma, the operation engineering superintendent assigned to the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron, plants a tree at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, April 30, 2020. The members helping out with the tree project came from the environmental office, dirt boys shop, electrical shop, HVAC, and other units from around the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

woman plants tree

Kelly Niland, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron natural resources and air quality program manager, plants a tree on the golf course at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, in April 2020. Planting trees not only provides clean air and water but also manages storm water runoff, increasing ground vegetation. (Courtesy photo by Kelly Niland)

grass with flags where trees will be planted

The “FamCamp” area is marked for trees to be planted at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, in April 2020. Airmen planted trees in the area to provide privacy and natural cooling to the recreational vehicle area. (Courtesy photo by Kelly Niland)


Mobility’s Hometown qualified as a Tree City USA for 2021 after planting more than 100 trees on Altus Air Force Base, Okla., last year.

With the help of members of the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron and Airmen across the 97th Air Mobility Wing, Altus met all of the requirements for the qualification.

“Tree City USA is a program created by the Arbor Day Foundation to encourage expansion and better management of urban forests,” said Kelly Niland, 97th CES natural resources and air quality program manager.

Airmen not only planted the trees to provide a windbreak and privacy screen for the base recreational vehicle camping area, but to provide cleaner air and water to help the local ecosystem.

People feel healthier and happier when they're surrounded by trees,” Niland said. “We hope to create a positive outdoor atmosphere to make base life more enjoyable.”

Trisha Fleishmann, 97th CES manager assistant, said the tree-planting effort gave Airmen the opportunity to improve their home installation while simultaneously boosting camaraderie.

“The more you bring people in and have group activities together, the better people feel and they feel more included,” she said.

According to Niland, the planting of trees is one of many helpful steps Airmen can take to protect and enhance the natural resources of the base.

Anyone on base can contribute to conservation by picking up litter, recycling, composting, reducing their water use and choosing drought-tolerant native plants for landscaping,” added Niland. “Even small actions go a long way toward protecting our natural resources.”


Click on the link below to see all the photos from Altus AFB's official ceremonies.

Altus AFB Flickr Albums