4,000 trees to be given away

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More than 4,000 trees will be given away Monday on a first come,first serve basis between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the MississippiForestry Commission on Old Highway 84.

The free giveaway is part of a promotional effort to bringattention to urban forestry, said Donna Yowell, executive directorof the Mississippi Urban Forest Council, a non-profit organizationthat advocates sustainable urban forestry.

The program is funded by a $20,000 grant from The Home DepotFoundation and is designed to develop urban forestry, provideeducational programs to the public on commercial and urban forestryand to plant trees in communities with the vision to reduce futurestorm damage, Yowell said.

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Each homeowner or landowner may receive up to 50 trees whilesupplies last.

In earlier efforts, students at Brookhaven Elementary Schoolkick-started the national tree planting program Feb. 27 by addingfive shumard oaks donated by the Alabama Forestry Commission to thecampus and giving students loblolly pines donated by theMississippi Forestry Commission for planting at their homes. KeepBrookhaven Beautiful and Keep Lincoln County Beautiful joined theforestry agencies in assisting the students.

The organizations also replaced a Bradford pear tree at FannieMullins School that was lost during Hurricane Katrina.

“Trees planted in the right place in Brookhaven add to propertyvalues and the charm and character of this community,” she said.”The program will ensure that the right tree is planted in theright place to enhance the town and reduce future stormdamage.”

The program was inspired by a national effort to highlight thevaluable role of family tree farms and sustainable urban forestrythroughout the United States, Yowell said. Only 2 percent of thenational population own a family tree farm and that number isdeclining rapidly. In some way, more than 80 percent of thepopulation of Lincoln County is involved in the tree farm business,she said.