Tree City USA: City recognized for 33rd year; Arbor Day Poster Contest winners named

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Pictured, left to right, are City of Cullman Tree Commission Chairman Everett Wier, Asher Thomas (St. Paul’s), Sarah Glasscock (Cullman Christian) and Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Friday morning, the City of Cullman Tree Commission and Mayor Woody Jacobs celebrated the city being designated a “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 33rd consecutive year. Arbor Day poster winners were also recognized at the meeting. 

Jacobs read a proclamation declaring Feb. 21-27 Arbor Week in the city of Cullman and urged all citizens to support efforts to care for our trees and woodlands and to support Cullman’s community forestry program. City Arborist Darrell Johns was unable to attend to accept the proclamation.

“Normally, I’d present this proclamation to Darrell,” said Jacobs. “In the 33 years the city of Cullman has been designated a Tree City USA, Darrell has been here. He helped get it started in the beginning when he worked in forestry and has helped keep it going as city arborist. We wouldn’t be celebrating 33 years as a Tree City USA if it wasn’t for Darrell, and we miss him being here today.”

Albert Mayo with the North Alabama Forestry Commission presented this year’s Tree City USA materials which included a Tree City USA flag, two new “Tree-City USA” reflective placards to be placed on existing signs in town, and other materials. Due to inclement weather, the Tree City USA flag could not be raised during the ceremony, but Jacobs told Mayo he would make sure the new flag was raised in front of city hall as soon as weather permits.

Jacobs then recognized the winners of this year’s Arbor Day Poster Contest. Each year in celebration of Arbor Week, fifth-grade students at each public and private elementary school in the city are invited to participate in the contest. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruption of regular school schedules, only two schools participated this year: Cullman Christian School and St. Paul’s Lutheran School. First-place posters from each school were also judged at the state level.

This year’s poster theme was “Trees are Terrific…in Cities and Towns!”

Winners from St. Paul’s were:

  • 1st place- Kambell Blackwood 
  • 2nd place- Asher Thomas 

Winners from Cullman Christian were:

  • 1st place- Sarah Glasscock
  • 2nd place- Roman Higdon 

First-place winners received $25 and a certificate while second-place winners received $15 and a certificate. Thomas and Glasscock were present at the ceremony. Blackwood and Higdon were unable to attend.

“COVID has disrupted a lot of things during the past year,” said Jacobs. “But I’m thankful for the two schools who participated this year and hopeful that next year all of our schools will once again be able to participate in this contest.” 

Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits.

Cullman achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements:

  1. A tree board or department. Cullman’s Tree Commission is comprised of seven members and meets at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of every even-numbered month at city hall. Cullman also has a part-time city arborist, Darrell Johns. The city arborist and the Tree Commission work together to develop an orderly process for identifying public tree needs including maintenance, removal, planting, replacement, and public education. Current members of the Tree Commission include Everett Wier (chairman), Peggy Harris, Nona Moon, Jan Barnett, Barry Slatton, Michael Sullins and Amy Leonard.
  2. A tree care ordinance. The City of Cullman’s Urban Forestry Ordinance is Ordinance #1343.
  3. An annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita
  4. An Arbor Day observance and proclamation

For more information on the Arbor Day Foundation, visit arborday.org. For more information on the Tree City USA program, visit arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com