The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Urban Forestry

Reference Number: MTAS-1346
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 02, 2016

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Urban forestry is the art, science, and technology of managing trees, forests, and natural systems in and around cities, suburbs, and towns for the health and well being of all people. Urban forestry has become a critical emerging local government function for communities across Tennessee. Urban forestry transcends public works, parks, storm water and public safety.

On Jan. 4, 1872, J. Sterling Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called Arbor Day at a meeting of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting properly the largest number of trees on that day. It was estimated that more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

Arbor Day was officially proclaimed by the young state's governor, Robert W. Furnas, on March 12, 1874, and the day itself was observed April 10, 1874. In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal holiday in Nebraska, and April 22, Morton's birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance.

Today in Tennessee, there are six communities that meet the four elements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national allocation model for federal funding. It is a goal of the workshops to increase that number to more than 20. This will provide more grant funding opportunities from the federal government to the state of Tennessee. In addition, there currently are 36 Tennessee cities that meet the Tree City U.S.A. designation. Another goal of these workshops is to increase that total to 50 Tree City U.S.A designations.

This Urban Forestry workshop course provides an overview of the purpose and importance of a municipal urban forestry program. Topics covered include the economic and environmental benefits of urban forestry, how to start an urban forestry program for your community, roles of tree boards and staff, identifying potential community stakeholders, technical assistance providers, and best management practices in urban forestry.

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