Erie's annual Arbor Day celebration began in 1997 and is modeled on similar celebrations throughout the United States under the auspices of the National Arbor Day Foundation
. Communities that meet the Foundation's criteria of having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an annual Arbor Day celebration receive certification as a Tree City USA. Erie is proud to have received this certification every year since 1997.
Erie's Arbor Day celebration is a fun family and community event that typically happens on the last Saturday in April, rotating among town and residential parks and other public spaces. The celebration involves hands-on planting of several trees in the selected location, free seedlings and educational materials, drawings for prizes and gift certificates, a flag ceremony by local scouts, presentation of the Tree City USA plaque to the mayor and refreshments.