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

“STOP” the Risk of Skin Cancer in Children!

The 2021 Shade Trees on Playgrounds (STOP) program is now accepting applications through October 8th for schools needing additional shade on playgrounds.

Urban forestry staff began the STOP program 19 years ago to help lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight on school playgrounds. Since then, more than 135 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 18th, 2021.
  • 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 17th, 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 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 October 8th, 2021.

Click here to access the PDF version of the 2021 STOP Application.

The following eleven schools were selected to participate in the 2010 STOP program: 

Earl Elementary School in Earle

McGehee High School in McGehee

Holly Harshman Elementary School in Mena

Gardner Strong Elementary School in Strong

Smackover Preschool in Norphlet

William Jefferson Clinton Primary School in Hope

Parkway Elementary School in Bryant

Oliver Springs Elementary School in Van Buren

Ruth Doyle Middle School in Conway

Raymond and Phyllis Simon Middle School in Conway

Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock

Blessed Sacrament School in Jonesboro

Mountain Home Montessori 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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