By Hannah Curran, Editor
TRUSSVILLE — David Dobbs kicked off Arbor Week 2022 with Tree Talk at the Trussville Public Library on Thursday, February 24.
Senator Shay Shelnutt donated $2,000 to the Trussville Tree Commission to plant trees.
“Trussville is a beautiful community, and our trees are part of the history, I just want to keep that going,” Shelnutt said.
Before retiring, Dobbs was an environmental science, earth, and space teacher at Hewitt-Trussville High School (HTHS). He believed in educating students in exciting ways. Dobbs wanted his students involved in the classroom, so he would have class outside to teach students environmental science whenever he had the opportunity.
“We talked about the trees that were there, the natives that were there and there, and that plot of land was totally undisturbed,” Dobbs said.
Councilmember and Liason for the Trussville Tree Commission, Perry Cook, said that John Floyd “resurrected” the Trussville Tree Commission two years ago, but it has been dormant since his passing. Cook added with the help of Mayor Buddy Choat, a committee was created, and the Trussville Tree Commission was reborn.
“The importance tonight is to educate our public about our tree commission, what its goal is, which is just educate people in the Cahaba Project and around Trussville about tree awareness,” Cook said. “When to cut, when to plant, so we’re just educating for tonight on trees, educating people to make people aware. We have a tree commission. This is very active, very alive, and will educate people on trees.”
When HTHS was being built, Dobbs wanted to have outdoor classrooms and community places outside where the kids could go, and then Floyd had a vision to plant a tree for each graduating senior that year.
“I don’t know truly what I had as a vision. I don’t know what I was thinking. I should have known better,” Dobbs said. “John said to me, ‘Hey, we’re gonna let the kids pick the trees, we’re gonna set them out.’ I’m like, ‘How are we going to move? Like, they’re coming in with a skid steer, they’re picking it up and moving it, how are they going to be moved,’ and John said, ‘We’ll get them moved, don’t worry, we’ll get it taken care of.'”
After many failed attempts to dig the holes themselves to plant the trees, Dobbs recruited some friends with a”magic toy” to dig the holes.
“It’s a little tiny scooter, and it comes up and it’s got this big auger on it, and one man rides it,” Dobbs said. “It’s like a little bucket thing, and it just digs these holes in the ground. So for I don’t know how many afternoons and how many Saturdays, I had some boys in my class that volunteered, and we planted trees, and we planted trees, and we planted trees, and we planted trees.
They were able to play 298 trees for the graduating seniors. Unfortunately, some have been cut away over the years, but in the area around HTHS, you can still see the trees planted for the seniors.
A proclamation was passed on Tuesday, February 22, at the Trussville City Council meeting that declared February 26, 2022, as Arbor Day in the city of Trussville. Mayor Buddy Choat presented the proclamation at the Tree Talk.
In 1872, the Nebraska Board of Agriculture established a day to be set aside to plant trees. This holiday called Arbor Day was first observed with the planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska. Arbor Day is now observed throughout the nation and the world.
Trees can be a solution to combating climate change by reducing the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cutting heating and cooling costs, moderating the temperature, cleaning the air producing life-giving oxygen, and providing habitat for wildlife. In addition, trees are a renewable resource, giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for fires, and countless other wood products.
Trees in Trussville increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify our community. Wherever they are planted, trees are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.
“Arbor week is just an awareness-type thing,” Choat said. “It is a nationwide event. We want to make it a bigger event in Trussville than it has been in the past; we’ve had a lot of people want to do this. So this is a great start tonight on the educational side, as well as awareness.”
Tree Planting Ceremony and Tree seedling giveaway will be at Civitan Park on Saturday, February 26, at 2 p.m. Giveaway and festivities will be on the hill near the veterans memorial with the tree planting next to the Cahaba Greenway near the green bridge.