Tree Commission discusses achievements, plans for future

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Pictured in February 2023, are, front row: Arbor Day Poster Contest winners Victoria Borucki, Owen Murphy and Landon Jones; Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs; Poster Contest Winners Marriah Hain and River Nelson and Cullman County Extension Coordinator Kira Sims. Back row are Tree Commission members Edgar Veigl, Rachel Dawsey, Joel Moon and Barry Slatton; Forestry Specialist Jason Downs; Planning Commission member Michael Sullins; Forester Mary Claire Smith and Tree Commission members Peggy Harris and B.J. Morgan. (City of Cullman)

CULLMAN, Ala. –  The Cullman Tree Commission met at City Hall on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

City Arborist Charles Chandler reported that several trees on the rights-of-way or easements have been removed in recent weeks due to disease or damage, and several others have been trimmed. He explained that he works for the Street Department, but also responds to concerns about trees. Anyone with tree-related concerns or questions can leave a message for Chandler by calling 256-775-7102 or emailing cityhall@cullmanal.gov

The commission discussed the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA Growth Award. The purpose of the award, which was recently earned by the City of Cullman, is to provide a framework for communities to achieve higher levels of tree care and community engagement. To receive the Growth Award a community must:

  • Be recognized as a Tree City USA (Cullman achieved Tree City USA recognition for the 35th consecutive year in February 2023)
  • Earn 10 points per calendar year by reaching various milestones and conducting or participating in certain activities that help build long-term sustainable community forestry

Tree Commission members plan to be much more visible at community events where they can share information on the commission, help educate people on the value of trees and teach the basics of tree planting and tree care.

“Trees are a great natural resource,” said Tree Commission Chairman Barry Slatton. “We will be taking a more active role in educating the public on tree planting and care, and we want to help enhance the appreciation of trees in our community.”

In other business, Tree Commission recorder Leanne West gave an update on the recommendation made at the February meeting for the City of Cullman to increase the Arbor Day Poster Contest prize from $15 to $25 for second-place winners and from $25 to $50 for first-place winners. This request was made by the Commission in an effort to encourage more students to participate. West reported that the City agreed to increase the prizes accordingly.

The Arbor Day Poster Contest is held in conjunction with Arbor Week and is open to local fifth-grade students. First- and second-place winners are selected from each school, and first-place posters are then entered into the statewide contest. In 2023, three schools participated: Sacred Heart Elementary School, St. Paul’s Lutheran School and Cullman Christian School. Winners were Owen Murphy and Landon Jones (second place) and River Nelson, Victoria Borucki and Marriah Hain (first place). Hain was also the overall statewide contest winner and traveled to Montgomery to participate in a tree planting ceremony with Governor Kay Ivey.

Current members of the Tree Commission are Barry Slatton (chairman), Peggy Smith, Jan Barnett, Rachel Dawsey, B.J. Morgan, Edgar Veigl and Joel Moon. The commission meets on the third Tuesday of every even-numbered month at 10 a.m. in the auditorium at Cullman City Hall, 204 Second Ave. NE. All meetings are open to the public.

To find out more about the Tree Commission or the City Arborist visit www.cullmanal.gov/depts/trees.  

To find out more about the Arbor Day Foundation visit www.arborday.org.  

To find out more about Tree City USA and the Tree City USA Growth Award visit www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa.