Protecting Arkansas’s forests, and those who enjoy them, from wildland fire and natural hazards while promoting rural and urban forest health, stewardship, development, and conservation for all generations of Arkansans

Shade Trees on Playgrounds (S.T.O.P.) Program

The Shade Trees on Playgrounds (STOP) Program was organized to lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight where children play, like school and daycare playgrounds. Selected schools receive up to five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies, and planting guidelines after participating in program training. Forestry Division personnel assist with the transport and planting of the trees.

In 2023, the following nine schools were selected to participate in the STOP Program:

  • Bob Folsom Elementary School, Farmington
  • Linda Childers Knapp Elementary School, Springdale
  • Faulk Elementary School, West Memphis
  • Greene County Tech Primary School, Paragould
  • Little Martians Learning Center, Springdale
  • Marion Math, Science, and Technology Magnet School, Marion
  • Two Rivers Elementary School, Ola
  • Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services Residential Childcare, Monticello
  • White County Central Bear Cub Preschool, Judsonia

The Forestry Division selects up to 10 schools to participate in STOP each year. Selected schools will receive:

  • five large hardwood trees. The species of tree each school receives will depend on the location of the school.
  • instruction on how to plant and maintain the trees. Forestry Division personnel will help schools prepare for tree planting and will be present to supervise the planting.
  • assistance from Forestry Division personnel, who will talk to students and community members about the importance of trees to people and to the environment.
  • recognition in local media.

To participate in the STOP program, applicants* should meet the following criteria: 

  • lack of shade on a school playground
  • participate in an online STOP workshop for educators on October 2, 2023
  • use provided curriculum materials to emphasize the importance of trees during the week(s) leading up to the tree-planting event
  • involve students in tree-related projects that culminate with a school-wide tree-planting ceremony
  • hold a tree-planting ceremony prior to December 21, 2023 (can be held with limited attendance and live streamed or recorded for later playback to a larger audience)
  • be willing to maintain the trees after planting.

*Applicants may be any public or private Arkansas school serving grades pre-K through 12, or a non-traditional educational facility such as a juvenile detention center, residential childcare institution, or long-term care facility that has a playground in need of more shaded areas.


If you prefer a printed application, you can print a PDF version of the Google Form to fill out and mail to: Urban & Community Forestry Program Coordinator, 258 Lower Dam Pike, Arkadelphia, AR, 71923. If submitting a paper copy, please be sure to mail it early enough that it is received by September 15, 2023.

Click here ✎ EditSign  to access the PDF version of the 2023 STOP Application.

Questions about the STOP Program?

Contact Kristine (Krissy) Kimbro, Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator, at 479-228-7929 or email