The Georgia Urban Forest Council, in cooperation with the Georgia Forestry Commission, established the Georgia ReLeaf program to bring urban forests in storm-struck communities back to life by making funds available for planting trees in public areas such as parks, schools, main streets, and business districts. This year, the Georgia ReLeaf program is also making funding available for tree planting projects benefitting or involving our military veterans. For more information about the funding process and to download an application, click here.
The 2014 issue of SHADE is brimming with informative articles on creating green infrastructure, the public health benefits of trees and green spaces, re-greening to reduce stormwater flow, controlling the risk and managing the liability of trees, creating urban orchards, saluting Georgia Tree Campus USAs, the urban forestry accomplishments of volunteers and practitioners from around the state and so much more. We hope you enjoy Shade Magazine in this new format! Click here for your copy.
Posted in Urban Forestry Program | Tagged Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Urban Forest Council, green infrastructure, SHADE Magazine, tree benefits, trees, urban forestry, Urban Forestry Program | Leave a Comment »
by Tim Womick, Saturday, Feb. 22
“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its country.” Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson is a town of about 10,000 in northeast Georgia that was named in his honor 207 years ago.
Elected officials, municipal employees, students and interested citizens gathered there today to celebrate Arbor Day by planting one of my favorite trees, the fan-shaped leafed Ginkgo biloba.
(In a June, 1791 letter to James Madison, Jefferson wrote,”I am sorry we did not bring with us some leaves of different plants which struck our attention, as it is the leaf which principally decides specific differences.”)
A deciduous conifer that matures to 100 feet tall, Ginkgoes date back to the time of the dinosaur and are a living link to our remote past.
Jefferson planted a Ginkgo tree at Monticello in 1807.
Because of their resemblance to maidenhair fern leaflets, Ginkgoes are often called maidenhair tree. The one we planted this morning (and ones available at most nurseries) are male (fruitless) because the female’s seeds ultimately produce a noxious, foul odor when they fall to the ground and split open. There are however many who prize their messy, fleshy goo for believed medicinal properties.
Standing beside the newly planted tree, the Jefferson Heritage Tree Council (JHTC) chairwoman and their mayor wrestled in the more than stiff breeze with the new Tree City USA flag the Georgia Forestry Commission’s Urban and Community Forester Joan Scales had just presented them.
As I looked at the leaf-bare Ginkgo imagining its golden fall foliage, the green and white flag clapped in the vigorous wind. I took a moment to soak-in the “family-like” atmosphere of the gregarious group which appeared to include about 8 decades.
The JHTB website states their mission clearly:
“To secure the many benefits of a healthy, diverse and expansive tree canopy for present and future generations of Jeffersonians.”
I feel a kinship to our third president.
I’ve planted a poplar at Jefferson’s Monticello…even personally delivered one from there to Washington’s Mount Vernon and dug a hole and planted it on the bank of the Potomac.
I’m acquainted with America’s foremost Jefferson impersonator. We met at Independence Park while planting a pure American Chestnut I’d help grow from seed.
That said, I feel very comfortable in unequivocally stating that Mr. Jefferson would be proud of the quaint town that bears his name. But I’m sure mostly, the framer of our Constitution would admire their dedication to being useful.
by Tim Womick
Today’s (Wed., Feb. 19th) Georgia Arbor Day Tour 2014 audiences were as different as can be.
I could see Ebenezer Baptist Church from where I parked at the first school.
Later, east of Stone Mountain, I spoke with the Future Farmers of America at a middle school where it was “camo-day”.
Talk about one end to the other demographics.
It matters not whom I address my message is generally the same…Trees are wondrous things that supply us with an incredible array of resources we’d be hard-pressed to live without. (Often show vocabulary and subject approach differ vastly.)
At both schools they learned not only that trees clean impurities out of our air but that during a 24 hour period we inhale approximately 24 thousand breaths of oxygen.
They heard that cellulose is the most abundant organic material on the planet and it is used in many ways…from thickening the foods we eat and drink to being turned into fabric we wear.
Both groups shouted back to me “Radiant energy”, “chloroplasts”, “critical root zone”, “root hairs”, “water”, “essential elements” as we discussed photosynthesis.
They learned that it is OK to cut a tree down and that folks remove trees for many reasons… pests, construction and old age.
They also learned that the trees in the forests have their roles to play but the ones where we live…around our homes and schools, in our parks and outside of the places we worship in are all vital.
Some of the kids picked at each performance froze when they found themselves in front of the audience. Others exhibited natural performance skills and relished the attention.
Really, after all, the students at the two different schools were more alike than not. All lived in Georgia, attended public schools and loved to laugh.
I guess that’s the way it is all over the world, we’re more alike than not and we all need trees.
Posted in Arbor Day, Trail of Trees | Tagged Arbor Day, children, Education, Georgia, Georgia Forestry Commission, Trail of Trees, tree benefits, Tree Planting, trees, urban forestry | Leave a Comment »
by Tim Womick
My Granny Hodges always loved the opportunity to smilingly say, “That sure was a long slide for a short climb”.
Today’s Georgia Arbor Day 2014 celebration at Atlanta’s Wesley International Academy was just that for more reasons than the 250 fourth graders in the studio audience.
The Georgia Forestry Commission teamed up with the state’s schools and presented a very special statewide webcast devoted to the many benefits and joys of trees.
Opening this first-of-a kind event was Governor Nathan Deal via a pre-recorded video who shared among other tree facts that, “Two out of three raindrops that fall in Georgia fall in forestland.” That’s a lot of trees!
State Forester Robert Farris, there in person, spoke from his heart about trees and Arbor Day’s history. (Folk in GA have been celebrating since 1890.) He also introduced me!
As always, the show’s rhythm was fast-paced and before the students knew it they were booing “particulate pollution” and applauding Georgia’s trees.
The big takeaway from this for students across Georgia was hearing about an incredible Artwork & Slogan Contest held by the Georgia Forestry Foundation to “express the value of our sustainable working forests and what they mean to you”. Two lucky entries 1-5th through 8th grade and 1-9th through 12th grade will be awarded prizes valued up to $35,000! ($15,000 cash goes to the school, $2,500 cash goes to student!)
Entry deadline is April 30 so get busy! Details at: http://www.forestry4rfuture.org
Winners’ artwork and slogan will appear on places like the sides of semi trailers, billboards and T-shirts. Get busy and see what kind of $35,000 “long slide for a short climb” being creative about Georgia’s sustainable working forests can be for you!
This week we will be posting a story written by Tim Womick who is on his annual Trail of Trees Tour for Arbor Day week in Georgia!
We all live in different worlds but we only have one earth.
Georgia is really such a beautiful and diverse state. I should know… I ran across it…two times.
Back in the early 90′s, before my National Tree Trust days, I was known for running from one end of a state to another and spreading my unique brand of tree-talk along the way.
To name a few, Maryland was easier than Florida. New York almost as much fun as Texas. But Georgia? I call it, “The state so nice I ran it twice.”
GA Arbor Day Tour 1992 found me fleet footed from Savannah to Ringold. The following year was Columbus to Augusta.
Running like that, you spend a lot of time alone. Time to see. Time to listen. Time to think.
Along the roadside on that first GA run as I neared Dublin, I came upon a collarless dog who’d been hit and obviously needing medical attention.
Everyone knows I love trees. But, I like dogs better than people. Not that I dislike people, I just really like dogs.
To make a long story short, I was able to get the dog in our van and find a vet who really didn’t believe me when I said, “No, I didn’t hit the dog. No, I don’t own the dog. No, I don’t know who owns the dog.” and “Yes , I will pay for its treatment.”
Twenty-two years later, I still wonder about that dog.
Today, in celebration of Georgia ‘s February Arbor Day and back in Dublin, I had the opportunity to engage and inspire the entire student body at their sole elementary.
As always, it was a bunch of fun with a lot of learning going on.
After the shows, 10 students shared shovels as they planted a young red maple. “Acer Rubrum,” I belted out. “Back in the 1700′s an energetic and inquisitive Swede had the idea to identify, name and classify every plant and animal on earth.” (He had no idea how gargantuan his task would be.)
“What you said just then, Acer rubrum, that’s Latin, the lost language!”, a bright fourth grader enthusiastically shared.
I studied the kids as they took turns shoveling soil onto the young tree’s roots. I wondered about each of their lives away from school. What they saw, what they heard and what kind of thoughts they had.
Some wore glasses. Some more mature than others. Some brainy. One seemed zany. I wondered what “life’s work” will occupy their lives?
The world today is vastly different than in Carl Linnaeus’s day when we didn’t know what to call what … but we still just have one earth.
by Tim womick
With the generous support of the City of Atlanta and Atlanta’s Tree Conservation Commission Trees Atlanta is excited to announce our first Trees Atlanta Georgia Arbor Day Speaker Event with nationally recognized author, Jim Robbins, author of The Man Who Planted Trees and science writer for The New York Times. This first speaker of 2014 will present an inspirational presentation entitled ‘The Power of Trees And How It Can Help Save the World’.
Jim will describe in his talk: “The things we do know about trees, and the many things we don’t — from their ability to clean up toxic waste to the ways scientists say they connect to the cosmos. Trees heal people, are critical to insects and wildlife as medicine, and, some scientists believe, even have a nervous system that allows them to think, strategize and communicate. Most importantly he explains why trees should be seen as an “ecotechnology” to accomplish a wide range of important functions to heal broken ecosystems and adapt a changing planet.”
** Credit hours available for this Speaker Event: 1.5 CEUs offered for ISA members (tentative)
Special thanks to the City of Atlanta and Atlanta’s Tree Conservation Commission for helping to fund this special Arbor Day Speaker Event!
When: Thursday, February 20th from 6pm-7:30pm (speaker at 6pm; book signing at 7pm)
Where: Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center, 225 Chester Ave Atlanta, GA 30316
Who: Open to the public; 1.5 ISA CEUs available
RSVP: Here or the Trees Atlanta website calendar http://www.treesatlanta.org/calendar
Questions? Kate Baltzell Education Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org