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Program highlights Wytheville trees

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Do you know of a tree in town that has a special significance? Perhaps it’s really old, big or beautiful. Or maybe one of your ancestors planted it years ago and it grows on family land. Whatever the reason, the Town of Wytheville wants to hear from you.

Wytheville’s Tree Advisory Committee is looking for trees to highlight and share with the community as part of its tree specimen program.

The committee is seeking specimen tree nominations from residents and visitors who may have a tree of significance that they’d like to nominate to be part of the program, said committee member David Richert, a certified forester and arborist.

The program was developed to showcase special trees in town and trees that tell a personal or community stories.

“The Tree Advisory Committee sees this as a way to engage citizens in the care and appreciation of our town’s trees,” Richert said. “Trees that add so much value – beauty, producing oxygen, storing carbon, filtering air and water.”

Once nominations are gathered, a downtown specimen tree walking tour will be developed to highlight certain trees.

So far, the committee has received only three nominations, but is hoping for many more.

“We are certain there are many more specimen trees out there in town,” Richert said, adding that the committee is not sure what kinds of trees will be nominated, but suspects there will be “magnificent oaks, stately hemlock trees and colorful sugar maples.”

“They won’t all be large trees, nor should they be,” he said. “There are many candidates that may be smaller trees that are more appropriate for areas near buildings or under powerlines.”

The program aims to help residents engage, notice, appreciate and be inspired by trees throughout the area.

According to Richert, the idea for the specimen tree program is to highlight the human-tree connections that exist in town, in light of the benefits town trees give us – clean air, clean water, beauty, shade to cool us, attractive foliage in the fall and flowers in the spring.

The trees nominated for the program will be added to a master database to document the trees. The database will be made available to the public. Also, a Tree Walking Tour and other programs recognizing nominated trees will be developed so others can enjoy the trees. Walking tour participants will be able to tour the trees and receive a brief history of each tree, if known, especially if there is any personal or historical significance.

Nominated trees will be scored on various criteria, including visibility, historical significance, extraordinary features/qualities, care and vigor, significant or unique species, and personal connections. Other items of interest for the tree should be noted, like if the tree is used for food or can highlight a natural process like exposure to fire, flood, climate change, ecological processes, etc.

The form asks about the type of tree, location using addresses or latitude/longitude coordinates, ownership, and if it has historical or personal significance. Photos are also needed. Smartphones can be used to determine latitude/longitude. Information should be completed on the form as accurately as possible.

To nominate a tree, you will need to fill out a Specimen Tree nomination form that is available by calling 276-223-3354 or online at www.wytheville.org.

To reach reporter Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 573, or email mrothrock@wythenews.com

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