Friday, December 02, 2005

Street Trees, Part 2

Our city is blessed with a superior urban forest. Not including the trees in parks and on private property, the city counts 80,000 street trees at a value of about $133,000,000. Mature shade trees make our neighborhoods more beautiful and help conserve energy.

The city Forestry Division does an excellent job maintaining and expanding our stock of street trees. They do it with crews of tree surgeons and arborists, assisted by only two inspectors, one north and one south, tracking the health of trees and when necessary, removing and replacing them for public safety purposes.

Trees are things most of us appreciate, especially when they provide us cooling shade on a hot summer day. We gather under them at block parties. We rest under them. They are part of our community. They are impressive. They are real urbanism.

In Asheville, North Carolina, they have established a Tree Response Committee to support the care and maintenance of street trees. Even for Sweet Gums...

In the spirit of community building, and engaging residents in neighborhood improvement, we could start a new program for concerned citizens and volunteer tree experts to promote expanding the stock of street trees and supporting the city's efforts protecting trees in distress. Such a program would heighten awareness of our outstanding urban forest, and create another opportunity for citizens to work together for the long-term improvement of our community.

There are lots of potential ways to engage citizens in looking out for the welfare of our lush tree canopy, and we'd be reinforcing another of the positive messages about St. Louis.

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