April 9, 2010 -
The City of Knoxville has continued what has become a spring tradition by being named as a Tree City USA for the 19th consecutive year.
The designation, awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation, is based on the city’s commitment to community forestry. Knoxville has been recognized by the foundation every year since 1992 for its efforts to maintain and expand the city’s urban canopy.
“We commend Knoxville’s elected officials, volunteers and its citizens for providing vital care for its urban forest,” Arbor Foundation CEO John Rosenow said in a recent release announcing Knoxville’s latest selection for the honor.
To earn the Tree City designation a community has to meet four standards including: having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
“The Tree City designation is something we never take for granted, no matter how many times we receive it,” said David Brace, deputy director of the city’s Public Service Department. “It’s an important goal for us and something we take great pride in. Trees are important to the appearance of our city, they add to the character of our historic neighborhoods, trees provide cooling shade that can have a significant impact on energy use and they provide habitat for wildlife.”
“So trees make a significant contribution to the city’s image and its quality of life and we’ll always focus on practicing good urban forestry,” he added.
The Public Service Department has a Horticulture Division that includes a fulltime tree crew that’s responsible for maintenance and care of trees located in the city’s right-of-ways, parks and green spaces. The group normally plants about 350 new trees a year though, thanks to some state funds, it has planted 420 new trees this year.
Those range from redbuds, dogwoods, crepe myrtles and holly trees to maples, oaks, magnolias and a single hemlock.
Knoxville will officially receive the Tree City award at the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration set for 12:30 p.m., Friday, April 23 at Ijams Nature Center.