March 7, 2012 - As buds and flowers begin to appear on branches across East Tennessee, the City of Knoxville has once again been designated a Tree City USA community by the Arbor Day Foundation. It is the 21st consecutive year the City has received the honor, which recognizes a commitment to urban forestry.
"We all benefit when communities like Knoxville place a high priority on planting and caring for trees, one of our nation's most beautiful resources," said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Trees shade our homes and add beauty to our neighborhoods, and they also provide many environmental, economic and social benefits. We applaud Knoxville's elected officials, volunteers and citizens for providing vital care for its urban forest."
The City's Public Service Department cares for all trees on City-owned property, and annually budgets $40,000 to support new plantings within public spaces such as medians, parks and along streets and greenways. In 2011, the City supported the planting of nearly 400 new trees. With thousands of trees damaged or killed by violent storms last year, the City is dedicated to replenishing the local stock and maintaining a healthy tree canopy.
"We have a longstanding commitment to maintaining a healthy urban tree population," said Public Service Director David Brace. "Trees are a vital part of the landscape of our neighborhoods and parks. They enhance Knoxville's natural beauty, and they also help filter the air, conserve water and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife."
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, environmental and education organization. To earn the foundation's Tree City USA designation, a city must have a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, a community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance.
The City of Knoxville actually participates in two Arbor Day recognitions: the state of Tennessee's on the first Friday in March, and the national celebration on the last Friday in April. This year there will be a ceremony at Ijams Nature Center on April 27. For more information on the City's Tree Board and tree programs, visit www.cityofknoxville.org/boards/treeboard.