Nacogdoches, the official Garden Capital of Texas, is now officially recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA community. The City of Nacogdoches partnered with Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful (KNB) and the Garden Capital committee to meet four core standards of urban forestry management in order to receive this distinguished designation. These standards include maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and promoting Arbor Day activities.
"The Tree City USA designation is not so much a program that provides benefits to the city, as it is recognition of Nacogdoches' efforts in urban forestry," Larissa Philpot, Nacogdoches city planner, said. "Nacogdoches was able to obtain the Tree City USA designation due to city council's support of the city's forestry program, through adoption of a public tree ordinance, budgeting funds for tree care, and the appointment of a tree board. Joint efforts between parks, public works, planning, and inspections staff translates council actions into the healthy urban forest seen in our parks and throughout our city."
The city adopted a public tree care ordinance that established the city's parks board as the tree board in 2006—fulfilling the first two standards. According to Philpot, city parks and public works staff are charged with planting and maintaining trees in public parks, as well as ensuring tree limbs don't dangerously encroach on city streets. Additionally, the city was budgeting funds for tree care, and the efforts of the Garden Capital Committee helped increase this spending to beautify our city’s landscape and to fulfill the third standard.
For the final standard, KNB, the Nacogdoches Garden Capital Committee, the Stephen F. Austin State University Forestry Department and community volunteers planted 90 new Chinese fringe trees in Banita Creek Park North during a special Arbor Day Celebration last November.
"This is a great accomplishment for Nacogdoches," Diana Walker, a volunteer for the Nacogdoches Garden Capital Committee said. "I consider it the best public-private partnership in years for our community. We all worked together to plan, organize, volunteer and complete a huge tree planting project, and through some hard work from all the groups, Nacogdoches is now a Tree City USA!"
"We are planning another Arbor Day Event in November of this year that we hope will include the planting of more trees in our community and will include some education on proper care for trees," Angela Wiederhold, Chair of the Nacogdoches Garden Capital of Texas Committee.
Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful is planning a Fall Tree Sale on Saturday, October 3, from 9am-1pm with more than 1,000 trees for sale. For more information, visit the Nacogdoches Garden Capital Facebook page or contact KNB at 936-560-5624.
The Tree City USA standards were established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure that qualifying communities have a viable program to manage and expand their public trees. The program began in 1976 and more than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA. For more information please call Amy Mehaffey at 936-559-2513.