Posts Tagged ‘Trail of Trees’

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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Tim Womick with Moon Tree Seeds

Do you have a Moon Tree?  NASA is searching for these special trees grown from seeds carried aboard Apollo 14  in 1971. Check out this article in USA Today on Thursday, Feb. 17th by Elizabeth Weise for more information and an email address to let NASA know about your tree. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2011-02-17-Moontrees17_ST_N.htm?csp=34news

As a part of the “Trail of Trees” Georgia tour held during Arbor Week in February, Tim Womick, presented some lucky students with a packet of  Moon Tree seeds to plant at home. So we know there must be some in Georgia!

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By Tim Womick, Guest Author

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Forsyth Park is the center of downtown Savannah. Loaded with majestic trees, the historic park dates back to 1851. On Saturday, February, 19th, in the park’s rich black soil, three young dogwoods were lovingly planted in memory of the remarkable woman and nationally know tree enthusiast, Mary Helen Ray.

Before the young trees went into the earth, those gathered from the Savannah Tree Foundation, Georgia Conservancy, Savannah Park and Tree Commission and Georgia Forestry Commission, shared memories of her. From the never-ending encouragement she freely gave, to strong-arming (in a most gentile way) a Governor in an attempt to shore up support for Georgia trees, to being given open access to the Queen of England’s personal library, the petite, soft spoken activist was recalled as a lady who had a heart of gold and a fist of steel gloved in silk. To live a healthy ninety years is a truly a gift indeed.  To use much of that life to “Speak for the trees for the trees have no tongue, ” is simply awe-inspiring. Without thought of recompense she championed arboreal issues relentlessly. Mary Helen was our friend.  She helped plant countless trees.  She saw to it that they were properly cared for.

The trees stand as silent sentinels and a rich testimony to her life. Now it’s up to us to keep doing what she did. It’s time for us to fill her tiny shoes and tend her trees.

–Tim Womick

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Today’s Blog Post is by Guest Author, Stasia Kelly.

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As a writer who supports the Georgia Forestry Commission and other forestry interests, messages about trees are missives easily woven at my keyboard day in and day out. However, planting trees with my sons at their school in celebration of Georgia Arbor Day truly brought the meaning of those messages home.

Lucky for me, a message I had created for a GFC contest seeking the 2011 Arbor Day theme was chosen as the 2011 winner. “Trees – The Amazing Renewable Resource.” That says it all to me: trees provide products, ecosystem services and incredible aesthetic beauty, over and over and over again! Unlike other natural resources, we don’t “use up” our supply of trees. With sustainable management and the love and care of their adoring public, we are able to replant and “re-use” trees forever.

As winner of the contest, I was able to name the school at which a tree would be planted for Georgia Arbor Day. Naturally, I chose Dunwoody High School, where my sons are students. Zachary, 18, is a senior, and Max, 15, is a freshman. Together we joined their classmates for a rousing presentation about the many benefits of trees by “Tree Guy,” Tom Womick (whom they deemed “cool, but a little odd – which helped with his presentation,”) and then went outside to plant a nine foot October Glory maple tree.

Together, we dug holes (three in all; the Dunwoody Garden Club donated two extra trees to complement the new garden area) and listened to GFC’s own cool tree-guru, Joe Burgess, explain proper planting methods and the necessary elements to guarantee the trees’ survival.

It’s always fun spying on your kids, but watching them help with the planting, listen to Tim and Joe, and interact with their classmates on this special day was a real treat for me. Talking about the experience afterward was, as well.

“I didn’t realize how many things trees made,” Zach said. “And all the jobs!”

“I always thought when you planted a tree, you just filled it in with dirt,” said Max. “I didn’t know there was a ‘proper’ way to do it.”

The boys found it interesting to learn about heat islands in the city and how trees can help keep paved areas cool. They said they’d never stopped to think about how tree roots hold back storm water and prevent erosion. Benefits I’d been writing about for years were brand new to my kids. How did that happen? It made me realize that I need to be more deliberate about sharing the Amazing Renewable Resource within my very own world!

Best of all, my boys and I realized that on Monday, we planted our legacy at Dunwoody High School.

“It will be interesting to watch them grow,” said Max.

Added Zach, “It’s cool to think that if I come back to Dunwoody in ten years, I’ll be able to see the tree and how much it’s grown.” For a tree lover and a mom, it doesn’t get much better than that.

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Tonight I had the opportunity to have dinner with Tim. After hearing many inspiring stories from his travels across the country and through Georgia, and realizing how many people Tim has touched with his incredible ability to share his love of trees in a meaningful way, I am looking forward to the rest of the tour in Brunswick, St.Mary’s and Savannah. This year we scheduled Trail of Trees performances at out schools that are a part of our Making the Shade Program. One of the many perks of participating in MTS…Tim Womick and the Trail of Trees visits your school!

“Making the Shade’ is a unique initiative that encourages not only school children, but school board members, developers, state and community officials and business owners to preserve existing trees on school campuses and to plant new ones … primarily on their playgrounds.Making the Shade’s health benefits are many and range from reducing children’s exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation (which can cause skin cancer)  to cleaning their air, and reducing risk of lung-related illnesses like asthma. Creating a shaded, healthy place for school children to participate in outdoor physical activity is vital in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for Georgia’s most valuable resource. 

From Tim:

Today when I asked the audience at two different Milledgeville elementary schools (Eagle Ridge and Midway) if they lived in the “urban forest”  both shouted a rousing “Nooooo!”

“Oh, sure you do,” I said. “Now y’all don’t live in the belly of the urban beast like, say, smack in the middle of Atlanta, but, this morning I got a coffee here at your Starbucks… If you’ve got a Starbucks, you certainly live in the urban forest!”

The kids laughed and realized that the urban forest is all around them – where they live, go to school, and play. They were engaged and ready to learn about the many benefits that trees provide from the rest of the performance. Rural or urban, our children are our future.

–Tim Womick

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