Posts Tagged ‘Trail of Trees’

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Arbor Day is just around the corner! Each year, Georgia celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday in February. During the week leading up to Arbor Day, the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) sponsors Trail of Trees performances by Tim Womick, the modern day Johnny Appleseed. Tim is a trained performer that has turned his passion for trees and life into an entertaining, inspiring, and informative performance on the benefits of trees. Tim interacts with audiences of all ages to relay the importance of trees in our everyday life and to encourage people to recognize their own roles as stewards of the earth. Using props that range from an African drum to tree seeds, Tim gets his message across in a humorous and insightful manner.

The Georgia Forestry Commission would like to offer interested schools and community groups an opportunity to host one of these Trail of Trees presentations. There is no cost to schools or groups. The presentations will take place between February 16th and February 21st, 2015. The preferred audience for these programs is fourth grade and up due to the length of the presentation (approximately 1 hour) and the amount of audience interaction. The average audience size ranges from 25 to 300 people. Generally, two to three performances will be scheduled per weekday and one on Saturday.

If your school or group is interested in hosting a presentation, please send the following information to Bonny Adams, badams@gfc.state.ga.us. Please indicate several alternative dates and times if possible. Requests will be filled first come-first served based on the tour’s schedule and routing.

• What school or organization is hosting the performance?
• Where will the performance take place? Please list the exact street address.
• What are the date and times you are requesting for the performance(s)?
• Who is the potential audience (e.g. 5th graders, high school students, families, adults, etc.)?
• Approximately, how many students/people will attend?
• Who should GFC contact about specific arrangements for the performance? Please list e-mail address and phone numbers.
• If different than the Local Contact,who should GFC contact to schedule the performance? Please list e-mail and phone.
• Media Coverage: Will there be any media coverage? (e.g. local media, school/group newsletter, etc.)
• Tree Planting: (optional)Will the school or organization be planting a tree after Tim’s presentation? If yes, please indicate the planting location (e.g. front of school, park entrance, outside of rec center, etc.)
• Please keep in mind that the school/organization must provide the tree and planting tools.
• Indicate any additional information that may relate to the Trail of Trees presentation (e.g. time constraints, other items on the program, etc.)

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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.

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by Tim Womick

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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!

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On Thursday, February 20, Georgia students have an opportunity to experience a first-of-its kind event that will have them learning, laughing, and loving the natural resources around them like never before! The Georgia Forestry Commission is teaming up with the state’s schools on Georgia’s Arbor Day to present a very special webcast devoted to the many benefits and joys of trees.

Did you know that two out of every three raindrops that fall in Georgia fall on forestland? Or that Georgia forests provide billions of dollars’ worth of ecosystem services to our state with no direct costs? Those are just some of the facts that make our forests so spectacular and contribute to Georgia’s ranking as a national leader in forestry. They’re also great reasons to help kids understand the value of conserving our forestland.

The webcast on February 20, from 10:00 am to 11:15 am will feature “edu-tainer” Tim Womick and his “Trail of Trees” production. Womick is a trained performer who became captivated by the importance of trees on Earth Day, 1990. He has been engaging audiences ever since with his creative presentations focusing on the importance of trees and environmental stewardship. Children and adults alike rave about Womick’s message, and a special tree-planting ceremony is often held immediately following his performances. Your school also has the opportunity to schedule a Georgia Forestry Commission-hosted tree planting event following the webcast.
Interested? We thought so!

It’s easy to take part in this special event. Just RSVP to Wendy Burnett (email wburnett@gfc.state.ga.us) by February 12. We will then send you more detailed instructions, including the web address, to join the webcast and to schedule a tree-planting ceremony at your school.

Thank you for your consideration, and Happy Georgia Arbor Day!

RSVP Information
School Name:
Contact Person:
Email Address:
School Address:
Web Address:
Do you use social media? If so, which ones and how can we find you?
Would you like to schedule a tree planting at your school after the program?

By participating in GFC’s virtual Arbor Day celebration, you agree to allow GFC to invite your local county government officials, legislators and media to join you at the celebration.

GFC encourages you to use the hashtag #GAArborDay when posting about this event on your social media.

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From Thursday, Feb. 14th by Tim Womick, Trail of Trees

I love the opportunity to do what I do. During the Georgia Arbor Tour 2013, I have audiences that total thousands of students.  Educating them about the wonder of trees is my mission.  Inspiring them to a life long love affair with trees is my personal goal.

Following today’s first show (as is often the case) I’m quickly surrounded by students peppering me with  questions.  I fielded quite a few of their queries before they we shepherded away to their regular  daily activities. As I was packing my carpetbag of tricks I felt a tug on the back of my shirt.  Turning around I found a tiny little angel who said, “I have a question.” The adorable girl wasted no time in asking me about a tree that was leaning over her house.  She was wondering how dangerous it was. I asked her how large it was and she made a circle with her arms that a basketball might fit in.  My next question was, “How close is it to your house?”

“Right on top of it.”

“Well you better get a professional arborist to come and check it out … It’s  not something you want just anybody to try and do.  Removing a large tree requires proper skills, appropriate equipment and liability insurance.  It’s all about the right person doing the right job.”

She gave me a confused stare.  I thought for a second and continued, “If you had a toothache, would you just let anyone start goofing around you mouth without the education and tools a dentist has?”

“No!” she exclaimed confidently.

“Well, it’s the same with trees, get it?”

“Now I do”.  Content, she turned on her heels and disappeared.

Nearby, a teacher had been listening.  She stated that up until recently, the little girl and her family had been living in a car and just moved into the house.  I asked if she knew a local arborist and said that one had just helped with their “Making the Shade” planting and she would contact him to see what he could do. Children shouldn’t live in cars but I’m thinking more than we realize do.

The last school was a tree party for sure but sometimes I get a vibe from teachers that is, well,  let’s just say my in-your-face rowdy mix of science and humor is a bit Unorthodox for old-school teachers. The show occurred in the gym and their “coach” was the typical crew cut, no-nonsense kinda guy.  When he saw me in my leaf covered shorts  accented with red flames, I just felt he wasn’t impressed. As I packed away my show, he came over to put away the audio system. I glanced over, smiling to make eye contact but he was having nothing to do with it. Resolved that I can’t please everybody, I continued packing.  Finally, shouldering my heavy bags and drum I started to take my leave. Deciding to leave well enough alone I walked toward the gym door in silence. “Hey, tree guy,” he said. (I held my breath.) “I want to tell you, that was phenomenal.”

I love the opportunity to do what I do.

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by Tim Womick, Trail of Trees

The  downtown square in Madison is lovely and hosts some of their communities’ oldest and hardest working residents, their trees. Just a short distance away sits their elementary school where today I did two shows in a sweet little theater.

Those unfamiliar with my show should know it’s based on the question, “What do trees give us?” Even before I’m introduced I survey the audience, attempting to “sense”  who needs my help this day to inch them closer to reaching their potential. Following a show more often than not, school officials remark, “You picked the students who needed it.”  And often, “I held my breath when you picked him… ”

It’s so easy to pick those I call “bright shinnies”, handsome or pretty and  always confident.  They are ones used to being picked. I look for those who are in someway awkward or shy and accustomed to not participating… Those comfortable in the shadows.

As I work the crowd into a tree frenzy almost everyone’s hand goes up. The second I see one of those awkward or shy ones raise theirs, before they know it, they find themselves onstage and in front of everyone. Unfortunately, often they freeze unable to offer an answer or they mumble something inaudible. From there, it ‘s my  job to elevate them to stardom.

A quiet girl might find herself wearing a colorful rayon scarf (cellulose product) and prancing about like a model saying “Wood fiber, like rayon!” (The GA  forest products industry brings in over 25 billion dollars to the state’s economy!)

Another might be festooned with an array of animals to show tree’s value to wildlife.  (There’s nothing like a morning birdsong!)

Someone else  might wear sunglasses and sing about shade like Elvis.  (Studies show a well shaded parking lot reduces the ambient temperature in cars by up to half, not to mention doubling the life of the asphalt it sits on.)

Really, what I do is not solely about trees.   It’s about encouraging  the people who live among them to become advocates for them as well as making their communities a better place in other ways because they can.

Take the next opportunity that appears for you to educate, support and encourage others … Not only in the science of Arboriculture, but in the science of humanity.


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by Tim Womick, Trail of Trees

Arriving in this morning’s  elementary school gym,  their band was rehearsing. All due respect, they brought the word  cacophony alive. (I looked to see if their band director wore earplugs, and, he didn’t.) I tried to focus as the noise worked it’s way into my bones.  When a bell rang and students scrambled to case their instruments, I was thankful. Following their dismissal and the start of my show, the quiet was exquisite.

Their music teacher and I were alone in that big gym busying ourselves.  My head pounded slightly from my brief time enduring their practice.  Me being like I am, I engaged him in conversation by telling him I realized the extreme and diverse values that learning to play an instrument  in a band can be.  His furled brow gave way to a broad smile. Now, he beamed with pride. I also asked him how much aspirin he went through during rehearsals and he said, “Bottles.”

Just then, students began filing in and I started beating my drum.  The ancient rhythms deeply engage students even BEFORE I say a word. When 2/3’s of the audience is seated, I pound the  drum once and mimic the beat with a clap of my hands. Without further prompting, they repeat my next beat and within seconds are clapping out various rhythms, both simple to funky syncopation. As this occurs, I look at  the students faces, their dress and their interaction with each other. I wonder who got a good night’s sleep the night before and who didn’t.  I wonder who sat around a table and had dinner with their family, what in their home they saw, heard or felt … I wonder what  they had and what they went without.

The school’s big “Making The Shade” planting is to be this Saturday and before the principal introduced me he reminded them of the opportunity to come back to school on their day off and help plant trees. During my program I asked, “Who’s coming to plant trees Saturday?” Every hand went up.

If you think I believe every student there was actually going to make the event,  or even half, or a third, you’re wrong.  I’m thinking if they have a hundred kids there Saturday it’ll be an Arbor Day miracle. Isn’t that the way our lives really are?  We know when someone needs our help, and what’s the right thing to do. But as often is the case,  we just get bogged down with other pressing things.

Don’t let Georgia Arbor Day get past you this year.   If planting a tree isn’t an option, try mulching the ones you have.  Three inches of organic mulch under your tree’s canopy (stay three inches away from the trunk) will be the single most cost-effective gift you can give your trees.

Taking care of the trees where you live helps the Georgia Forestry Commission make the shade.


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by Tim Womick, Trail of Trees

On the eve of the start of my 21 st year partnering with the  Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) promoting trees and their benefits to Georgians,  a tornado touched down in Mississippi. News reports said it was now traveling due east, 50 miles per hour … Directly my way. Today, monster storms are becoming more common.  More storms,  less predictability. Tired as I was from a day of travel, I made a plan to (when a tornado hit) honker-down in the hotel’s bathroom,  hiding under the king-sized mattress I saw myself hauling into the tub with me. Confident and slightly anxious I got in bed, lifted a little prayer, put my head on the pillow and didn’t awaken again til dawn. No, the thunderous claps didn’t roused me.  Nor did the pounding  downpour that went on for hours. I had a mission to do and I wanted to be relaxed and ready for my 1st audience of 500 in Cordele.

What a sweet auditorium they had.  The state-of-the-art light and sound system helped me capture their interest in trees as well as their imagination for their future, making sure it included the right tree in the right place.

The next audience in nearby Leesburg  was half of the first but our tree party took over their media center and the crowd standing in the back grew and grew during the show. As always, within no time, they were singing about shade, booing particulate pollution and marveling at biology like never before.

Twin Oaks Elementary  (I saw dozens of pair of oak that might be their namesake) is a new “Making the Shade” school. The GFC created the program to encouraged healthier playgrounds by funding campus tree plantings. Their’s  had just occurred and over 40 new campus trees were installed by students, teachers, administrators and  their families. As I was leaving (scooting-out before the buses lined-up)  the principal was helping me load my car, I asked who was responsible for keeping the watering bags full during summer. He surveyed the 20 or so we could see from where we were, sighed really big, looked me square in the eye and said, “Me.” Glad he’s on  the tree band wagon.  I thanked him for his commitment and reminded him that those trees were more valuable than folk realize.

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Check out these media links to see what happened across Georgia!

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Seven professionals have been selected as the International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA’s) 2011 class of “True Professionals of Arboriculture.” These outstanding arborists are forging new ways to save the urban tree canopy, partnering with innovative tree planting programs, and teaching children around the world about the science of tree care.

Among a diverse group of True Professionals chosen for 2011 based on impacts to their communities and ability to  influence colleagues, Tim Womick holds a special place in the heart of Georgians. He leads our annual Trail of Trees Program held inthe state during Arbor Day week in February. 

The 2011 class of True Professionals of Arboriculture includes:

  • Richard Adkins (Phoenix, Arizona)
  • Casey Combs (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Mike Galvin (Washington, D.C.)
  • Gordon Mann (Auburn, California)
  • Carl Melllinger (Pacific Palisades, California)
  • William Spradley (Kirkwood, Missouri)
  • Tim Womick (Asheboro, North Carolina)

According to ISA Past-President Tim Gamma, diversity is among the many traits of this year’s True Professionals. “Each of these arborists is a consummate professional, and it is my belief their actions can serve as a best practices guide for our industry,” says Gamma. “The winners offer a unique approach to their trade, often enriching their communities and educating thousands about the importance of trees and proper tree care.”

Learn more… >>Read more

Profiles and case studies of the True Professionals will be featured on the ISA website and highlighted in future ISA publications such as Arborist News. Short biographies of each winner are available now.

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