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In partnership with the Georgia Forestry Commission, Snapping Shoals EMC  is providing 1,000 free trees to customers through Energy-Saving Trees, an Arbor Day Foundation program that helps conserve energy and reduce energy bills through strategic tree planting.

Snapping Shoals EMC customers can reserve their free trees at http://www.arborday.org/snappingshoals. An online tool helps customers estimate the annual energy savings that will result from planting trees in the most strategic location near their homes or businesses. Customers are expected to care for and plant their tree in the location provided by the online tool. The types of trees offered include the following: red oak, white oak, red maple, southern magnolia and crape myrtle.

The program will continue until all 1,000 trees are reserved. The two-to-four foot tall trees will be delivered directly to customers in late February to early March at an ideal time for planting, and while we are celebrating Georgia’s Arbor Day on February 17, 2017.

“This program benefits the environment and can help customers save money on their energy bills,” said Scott Fuss, Snapping Shoals Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator.

The “Energy-Saving Trees” online tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of Davey Tree Expert Co., and uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the USDA Forest Service’s i-Tree software to calculate estimated benefits. In addition to providing approximate energy savings, the tool also estimates the trees’ other benefits, including cleaner air, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved storm water management.

More information about Georgia Forestry Commission can be found at GaTrees.org.

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About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization of one million members, with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org, or by visiting us on Facebook, Twitter or our blog.

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The Georgia Urban Forest Council recently funded Project Pay It Forward in the City of Valdosta through a Georgia ReLeaf grant.

The purpose of Project Pay It Forward is to partner with the American Legion Post 13 on a community event to improve the quality of life for veterans and future generations, while recognizing veterans for the contributions and sacrifices they have made for our country.

Funding helped purchase 7 trees to be planted within the city right-of-way. A Ginkgo tree was planed to replace a diseased/dying Ginkgo that was planted in 1994 in memory of Margaret Ashely Greene – Gold Star Mother, WWI. In conjunction with the tree planting, the volunteers helped to clean-up the flower beds and place new pine straw.

The project work day was held on Saturday November 7th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. City staff performed work (e.g. grading, preparing holes for trees, etc.) the week ahead of time. In addition, the Home Depot Distribution Center provided 16 volunteers on November 6th to help remove weeds and lay sod. 32 volunteers participated in the project work day and assisted with leveling the locations where the trees and flower beds are located, installed 30 plants, removing weeds, trimming back overgrowth, and placing new pine straw. In addition, 65 cards were made for veterans and three aged signs were replaced (e.g. handicap parking). Following the planting of the Ginkgo tree, city staff thanked everyone for helping to make this project possible and shared information on the Georgia ReLeaf grant program that made the project possible. In addition, city staff surprised the American Legion Post 13 members with historical information on the Gold Star Mother and her son, Captain J. Gardner Greene who was killed in WWI on September 12, 1918 since the original records had been lost.

On November 11th, the American Legion Post 13 hosted the community Veterans Day Ceremony at Bzaemore – Hyder Stadium, which is located directly across the street from the American Legion. Everyone was invited to the American Legion for lunch and to celebrate the Marine’s 240th birthday. Patriotic bows where placed on each tree and a tag that included information on the grant and the project partners. The total project cost was $7,838.20, which includes $2,725 in grant funds and $5,113.20 in donations / in-kind services and local funds.

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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.

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This year, GUFC’s quarterly programs are focusing on tree canopy, stormwater management, and water quality. We’ll start with our first quarterly program, February 18 (10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) at the ECO River Education Center, 393 Riverside Parkway in Rome. Speakers include Berry College’s Dr. Martin Cipollini, who is also the director of their Longleaf Pine Project; City of Rome Environmental Manager Brian Roberts; Duncan Hughes, Watershed Manager of the Soque River Watershed Association; and Justin Ellis, Executive Director of the Soque River Watershed Association. Dr. Cipollini will discuss how restoration of native upland forests have positive downstream effects in addition to the intrinsic value of the restoration, using longleaf pine and chestnut trees as examples. We’ll also learn about the basics of trees and stormwater management, learn about Rome’s Burwell Creek Restoration Project and hear about the success of the Soque River Watershed Restoration Project.

After lunch (provided), we’ll have the State Arbor Day Ceremony with State Forester Robert Farris and readings of the State Arbor Day Proclamation and the City of Rome’s Proclamation. We’ll also present certificates of recognition to Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA representatives that are in attendance. Everyone is invited to stay for the Tree Board Networking reception and tree planting that rounds out the day. We hope to see you there!

4 ISA arborist CEUs will be available. Lunch is provided.

Registration: $40 GUFC members and representatives from Tree City and Tree Campus USAs in Georgia, $50 non-members. $10 discount per ticket for groups of three or more Georgia Tree City and Tree Campus USA reps/tree boards.

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The Georgia Urban Forest Council (GUFC) and Bibb County Cooperative Extension will present a “Turf and Trees Seminar for the Green Industry” on February 4, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at Lake Tobesofkee, 6600 Moseley Dixon Road, (I-475, Exit 5), Macon, Georgia 31220. This class is geared toward landscaping crews and others in the green industry who want to learn more about maintenance of healthy turf and proper tree planting and tree care techniques. Morning topics, taught by UGA extension agents and specialists, will include turf disease, herbicides, and calibration; the afternoon topics, taught by Dan Bauer and Ehren Moler of Arbor Equity, Inc., will include tree planting, mulching, water, staking, pruning, and soil management. Registration fee: $60. Lunch is included. Register at http://www.gufc.org.

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The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust recently established an American chestnut plot on property owned by the Land Trust in Gwinnett County. The project helps meet the American Chestnut Foundation‘s goal to establish seed orchards throughout the historic range of the American chestnut.  Dr. Martin Cippolini, professor of Biology at Berry College in Rome is overseeing plantings at several locations in north Georgia. 

During a two-day period in March, a total of 28 chestnut seeds were planted by volunteers Dale Higdon, Hank Ohme, Dan Douthart and Susan Granbery. These included 20 hybrid chestnuts, known as B3F3, 15/16 American/Chinese (approximately 94% American, 6% Chinese), and the control species, two pure American chestnuts and six Chinese chestnuts.

The idea behind the project is to see how well the seeds germinate and their survival rate.  The seeds were planted in good quality potting soil with protective plastic tubes anchored below ground level to protect from moles and other burrowing animals.  Protective cages to prevent deer damage were placed over the tubes and anchored with stakes and wire staples.  The plantings have been tagged and recorded.

Project organizer, Dale Higdon, continues to monitor the site and attend additional training classes to keep the trees healthy and stay up-to-date on the American chestnut planting projects across north Georgia. As of April 23rd, nine seedlings (7 hybrid, 1 American, and 1 Chinese) had sprouted.

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twin oaks group shot

A school named Twin Oaks should have trees. Yet, Twin Oaks Elementary School was built in an old corn field. When the school opened there were no trees on the campus. Over time a few trees have been planted but there was not much in the way of shade or greenery. Through the Georgia Forestry Commission’s “Making the Shade” program a grant of $5000 was awarded to Twin Oaks in September. Teachers and staff worked with forest rangers from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to select trees and create a landscape design that is beneficial to Twin Oaks. What are the health benefits provided by trees? Trees are outdoor air conditioning. The presence of trees lowers surface temperatures on the playground, protects students from ultraviolet radiation, and improves air quality. Trees even help students who have asthma or ADHD by positively impacting the environment.

Saturday, February 2 was “Making the Shade Family Work Day” at Twin Oaks Elementary School. About 100 students, staff, family, and friends braved the cold winter weather to plant 43 trees around the school. With the assistance of the Georgia Forestry Commission, Lee-Dougherty Forestry Queen and her court, the K-Kids Club, and a host of family and friends each tree was planted with care as volunteers made the shade for Twin Oaks. Forester Mark McClellan and local forester Tom Lambert from the Georgia Forestry Commission taught the volunteers how to properly plant a tree. The group divided up into five teams to plant each of the areas designated in the landscape design. The trees planted included 12 American Hornbeam, 11 Trident Maple, 7 Crepe Myrtle, 6 Overcup Oak, 4 Sycamore, and 3 Nuttall Oak. It was a great day of family fun and ecological enhancement for Twin Oaks Elementary.

Planting trees was a great learning opportunity for the students. School principal, Dr. Jason Miller, said that he loved the idea of a long range project like “Making the Shade.” According to Dr. Miller, “What we are doing here today will help students who attend this school 10 or 20 years from now. It is kind of like what we do in the classroom everyday. We may not see immediate benefits but we know that there is a long term positive impact for student learning. The trees planted today may not shade the playground for our current students but in the future we know there will be some beautiful shade trees around our school. It is an investment and just like getting an education it is work now, pay later.” Each tree will be adopted by a class and will be cared for by the students. The school will have a dedication ceremony this spring for the trees including a special dedication of a tree in honor of the men and women deployed overseas with the military. Planting and caring for trees is visible learning with tangible results.

Thanks to Twin oaks Elementary for submitting this article to our blog and for participating in the Making the Shade program!

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