April 15, 2010 -
The City of Knoxville's Tree Board will celebrate Arbor Day on Friday, April 23, at Ijams Nature Center beginning at 12:30 p.m. Guests and the public are encouraged to show up early and enjoy the park grounds and exhibits at the 175-acre nature center which is celebrating its 100th year.
The theme for this year's National Arbor Day Celebration is, "Trees are Terrific….and Energy Wise," and the local celebration at Ijams will feature performances by students from Beaumont Elementary School and Mount Olive Elementary School. Awards will be presented to Knox County students who won the Knoxville Tree Board's Arbor Day poster contest and competed in the State Division of Forestry's Arbor Day Poster Contest.
The Arbor Day celebration is sponsored by the City of Knoxville Tree Board.
The winners for this year's poster contest and their teachers are listed below:
Bonny Kate Elementary: Student: Cara Browning; teacher: Tiffany Eng
Cedar Bluff Elementary: Student: Jordan Howard; teacher: Jeanne Hardin
Grace Christian Academy: Student: Tiffany Taylor; teacher: Teresa McNelly
During the event, the City of Knoxville will be recognized as an Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA and the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) will receive its Arbor Day Foundation Tree Line Utility Designation.
Ms. Dessa Blair, former teacher, longtime community volunteer and Knoxville Tree Board member emeritus, will preside over the event which promotes the benefits of trees to our community. Ms. Blair will be joined in the ceremony by fellow Tree Board members, city officials, members and representatives from Ijams Nature Center and the City of Knoxville Public Service Department.
"The Knoxville Tree Board is focused on raising awareness about the importance of trees in our community through youth-oriented activities such as Arbor Day, and also by promoting proactive sustainable strategies for maintaining our city's tree canopy," said Board Chairwoman Kimberly Davis. "People are starting to understand how trees play an important role not only in how our city appears to visitors, but in their contributions to how we use and protect our energy resources. Properly planted trees provide protective shade cover for homes and can lower a household's annual utility bill."
Trees also enhance the urban environment and add character, particularly to older historic neighborhoods. The Public Service Department's Horticulture Division plants approximately 350 new trees throughout the city every year according to Public Service Deputy Director David Brace.
Brace said that in addition to contributing to the beauty of the community and providing energy-saving cooling trees reduce noise pollution and provide habitat for wildlife.
Knoxville will also officially receive its latest Tree City USA designation during the ceremony. This marks the 19th year the city has been honored with the designation by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to tree planting efforts and community forestry.
The Arbor Day Foundation is dedicated to promoting the value of trees and encourages people to plant and nurture trees. The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska in 1872 as a result of the efforts of J. Sterling Morton. The idea was so popular that by 1920 nearly every existing state celebrated Arbor Day.
Today Arbor Day is celebrated all 50 states, U.S. Territories and several other nations.
The City of Knoxville's Tree Board is an 11-member citizens committee created in the early 1990s to help develop a master street tree plan for city property. It disseminates information regarding the selection, planting and maintenance of trees and advises City Council about issues relating to the city's tree program.
More information about the City Tree Board and its activities is available at