Cullman Tree Commission searching for volunteers, introduces new arborist

The Cullman Tree Commission met Tuesday, Dec. 19, introducing new City Arborist Shane Bevins. Left to right are B.J. Morgan, Peggy Harris, Edgar Veigl, Rachel Dawsey, Barry Slatton, Leanne West and Shane Bevins. (Cheyenne Sharp)

CULLMAN, Ala– At its meeting on Dec. 19, the Cullman Tree Commission discussed the inaugural Festival of Trees and the possibility of continuing this new “tree-dition” in future holiday displays. It also introduced Shane Bevins and the new city arborist.

Commission Chairman Barry Slatton and others have high hopes for next season’s Festival of Trees, although one thing is desperately needed: volunteers.

“You cannot do any kind of a big event without people who are willing to help monetarily, with time and with support. It takes everybody and I thank each one of you,” said Volunteer Consultant Phyllis Hain. “I feel like our opening ceremony was a huge success with the time crunch that we had.”

Longtime commission member Peggy Harris is choosing to retire from her voluntary seat, leaving a hole that needs to be filled. Slatton called for volunteers to be members of the commission – possibly a new board member.

Said Slatton, “We need to find someone who is interested in what we do to be on our board. We would like someone that is possibly retired, or who has the time to make the meetings.”

The annual Arbor Day Poster Contest was on the table for discussion as well. Fifth graders from East Elementary, West Elementary, Cullman Christian School, Sacred Heart and St. Paul’s all have the opportunity to create a masterpiece and win a cash prize – $50 for first place and $25 for second place – as well as a handmade Arbor Day-themed quilt for the first place winner. Posters will be judged by the commission on Feb. 5, 2024, at the Cullman County Extension Office, with a ceremony scheduled for Feb. 20, to recognize and award the winners.

Member B.J. Morgan updated the board on the progress of the city’s arboretum, housed at Sportsman Lake Park, saying, “There really is no update on the Arboretum, everything has kind of been put on hold with that right now due to the Christmas display.”

In other business, the commission discussed adopting a commission emblem.

The next Cullman Tree Commission meeting will be on Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. at Cullman City Hall.

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