By Crystal McGough, Associate Editor
TRUSSVILLE – The Trussville Public Library auditorium filled up Thursday night with people in the community coming to learn about Trussville’s native trees and how ordinary citizens can help trees survive and even thrive within an urban community.
This week is Alabama’s Arbor Week, and the Trussville Tree Commission and Public Library have teamed up to make this week educational, as well as engaging, for the community.
Henry Hughes, the retired Director of Education at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, gave a presentation in the library auditorium Thursday, at 6:30 p.m., on “Native Trees and the Urban Landscape.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot in the last 20 years about urban trees and why they are so challenged, and how communities such as yours needs to really think about this carefully,” Hughes said. “It’s important that citizens, particularly Tree Commission members, learn the signs of declining trees and the signs of healthy trees, and how to promote the latter and how to prevent the former.”
Hughes shared details and images of how tree roots work, how trees prefer to live in communities – as opposed to a single tree planted alone – and how trees reproduce and forests replenish.
Some interesting facts he shared included that one of the rarest oak trees in the world, the Boynton oak, only grows in Alabama, and that the Overcup oak, a swamp species, can be found in Birmingham’s Woodward Park, suggesting that the location of the park was at one time a swamp.
“It is the only stand of Overcup oak that exists in Birmingham that I’m aware of,” Hughes said.
Prior to Hughes’ presentation, Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat read a proclamation that was approved at the last city council meeting declaring Feb. 25 as Arbor Day in the city of Trussville.
“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas, and beautify our community,” Choat read. “Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”
Anyone who has visited the library this week has had the opportunity view a display of Arbor Day artwork, presented by art students from Hewitt-Trussville Middle School, with the support of teacher/sponsor Kristin Meriam. The art will continue to be on display through Saturday.
Also on Saturday, the Alabama Forestry Commission will be giving away bare root/tree seedlings at the pavilion on the Mall from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Girl Scout Troop 30679 will be present, as well, to help to plant the celebratory Arbor Day tree near Heritage Hall. Friends of Pinchgut Creek VP Jean Cox will provide face-painting.