COOKEVILLE – The city of Cookeville was named a 2020 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.
The city also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating environmental improvement and higher level of tree care.
“2020 was a trying year for most, and we were saddened to not be able to host a communitywide Arbor Day event this year,” Cookeville urban forester Jaime Nunan said. “However, we are still excited to have achieved our 31st year of Tree City USA recognition, as well as an additional growth award for exceeding the basic level of tree care required by municipalities.”
Between the Cookeville Tree Board and the city’s Public Works and Leisure Services departments, more than 550 trees have been planted within the city this season. Another 1,000 were given to residents to plant through the Community Tree Recovery Program.
“While 2020 was far from a normal year for everyone, we have been working continuously to improve the urban forest and environment for our residents,” Nunan said.
Cookeville achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
“Maintain a healthy and sustainable natural environment is a team effort, even with all of the changes 2020 brought, we are proud to continue to work together toward this goal,” Nunan said.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
“Tree City USA communities see the positive effects of an urban forest firsthand,” Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation president, said. “The trees being planted and cared for by Cookeville are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.”
In addition, the Cookeville Electric Department celebrated its 16th year of achieving Tree Line USA recognition.
To mark this milestone, the Electric Department purchased and, along with the Leisure Services Department, planted two cherry trees at Cane Creek Park near the new dog park that is under construction. Four additional trees for that location were donated by Funks Landscapes.