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

STOP Program

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

(**Note: Due to social distancing mandates and health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shade Trees on Playgrounds workshop date and tree-planting deadlines for the 2020 award year listed below are later in the year than usual and are subject to change. **)

“STOP” the Risk of Skin Cancer in Children!

The 2020 Shade Trees on Playgrounds (STOP) program is now accepting applications through September 25th for schools needing additional shade on playgrounds.

Urban forestry staff began the STOP program 18 years ago to help lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight on school playgrounds. Since then, more than 125 Arkansas schools have received trees. The STOP program also provides teachers with a full curriculum about the environmental benefits of trees, how shade reduces skin cancer risks, and tips for keeping trees healthy.

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. These programs include hands-on projects about trees.
  • recognition in the local media.

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

  • lack shade on a school playground.
  • participate in an online STOP workshop for educators on October 21st, 2020.
  • 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 January 31st, 2021  (can be held with limited attendance and livestreamed or recorded for later playback to 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.


Please click here to complete the STOP application online via Google Forms.

If you prefer a printed application, you can print 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 25.

Click here to access the PDF version of the 2020 STOP Application.

The following eleven schools were selected to participate in the 2019 STOP program: 

Eastside Elementary in Warren

Two Rivers School District in Ola

Justin Veach Elementary in Manila

East Poinsett County Lepanto Elementary

Wynne Primary and Intermediate Schools

Fouke Elementary School

Ouachita Elementary School in Donaldson,

Cedarville Elementary School

Sidney Deener Elementary in Searcy

Marshall Elementary School

Nelson Wilks Herron Elementary in Mountain Home

Questions about the STOP Program?

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

Supporting, Protecting, and Growing Arkansas Agriculture and Forestry
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