Cookeville Tree Board bestows Friends of the Urban Forest Awards

Pictured from left: Jeff Fitzpatrick, Cookeville Electric Department right of way superintendent and forester; Guy Zimmerman, award recipient; and Jaime Nunan, Cookeville urban forester.

COOKEVILLE – The city of Cookeville and Cookeville Tree Board recently recognized two community partners for their contributions to environmental projects within the city over the past year.

“The tree board voted this year to revive its Friends of the Urban Forest Award, which is presented in two categories – to honor a local company or business as well as an individual who have made outstanding commitments and contributions to the local environment through urban forestry education, tree planting, community service, outreach projects or other volunteer-based work,” Cookeville urban forester Jaime Nunan said. 

The recipients are Mid-Tenn Nursery, owned by Carol and Bill Bullington, and Guy Zimmerman, tree board chairman. The recognition coincided with National Arbor Day, which was April 30.

“Mid-Tenn Nursery has donated trees and plants to a variety of community projects, but in particular has participated in the plant-related activities of tornado recovery and memorial planting programs,” Nunan said. “Guy Zimmerman has been instrumental in the development and continued successes of the Cookeville Tree Board.”

Zimmerman, retired from a 40-year career with the Tennessee Division of Forestry, was recognized as the founder of urban forestry in Cookeville.

Jeff Fitzpatrick, Cookeville Electric Department right of way superintendent and forester, said, “Guy’s accomplishments placed Cookeville on the map as one of the first cities in the state to recognize the many positive attributes that trees add to life. His experience in the Tennessee Division of Forestry inspired him to bring Cookeville’s canopy of trees into the wooded natural areas that we all enjoy so much.”

Zimmerman and others forged the first tree ordinance in 1989. He was also instrumental in the hiring of Fitzpatrick as the city forester in 1990 as well as Nunan, the city’s first urban forester, in 2017 after Fitzpatrick’s transition into utility forestry with the Cookeville Electric Department.

The Cookeville Tree Broad was established in 1988 by the Cookeville City Council after a recommendation by the Cookeville Leisure Services Department.

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