DAVIDSON – No, the trees in Davidson’s Roosevelt Wilson Park and the Village Green are not for sale, despite the large price tags dangling from their trunks.
Rather, the tags are part of Davidson’s town-wide Arbor Day project to help educate Davidson residents about the value of trees. The Natural Assets and Tree Advisory Board, the Community School of Davidson and the Davidson Lands Conservancy are spearheading the project, which dons about 50 trees in town with value tags.
On March 8 the town was awarded its first Tree City USA designation, an honor that has been given to 72 North Carolina communities and 3,000 nationwide.
Eighth-graders from the Community School of Davidson kicked off the project by hanging tags at Roosevelt Wilson Park on Friday, March 11, and other tags can be found at the Village Green. All tags will stay up through the town’s Arbor Day celebration Friday, March 18.
The tags aren’t meant to show what a similar tree would cost to purchase, but rather what those trees’ economic value is over ten years.
“This project was about us going around… and showing the community how valuable these trees are over a ten-year spectrum,” said Tyler Sholes, one of the eighth-graders who helped out.
For example, the six-foot-tall cherry blossom in Roosevelt Wilson Park would cost about $100 at a nursery. But as it’s price tag shows that it contributes $94 towards reducing air pollution, sequestering carbon and reducing storm water management costs.
Community School students first identified the trees, measured their circumference and entered the data into the National Tree Benefit Calculator for an accurate picture of each tree’s annual contribution, which they then multiplied by 10.
Josh Main, another eighth-grade participant in the project, said the project has inspired him to look at trees differently.
“I learned a lot about how much trees are worth,” he said. “I would have never thought they were worth so much.”
And that worth is based on how those trees contribute not to the town’s fund balance but the town’s environment, said Davidson Planning Manager Lauren Blackburn, staff liaison for the Natural Assets board.
“What Davidson’s canopy provides over the course of a decade is cleaner air, a natural weapon against global warming, cooler homes in the summer, warmer homes in the winter and thousands of dollars in savings,” Blackburn said. “Our trees add significantly to the wealth and value of our community, and it’s nice to be able to give our residents a picture of just how valuable they really are.”
Tree City USA is a partnership between the N.C. Division of Forest Resources and the National Arbor Day Foundation; for more information on the foundation, visit www.arborday.org/programs/treeCityUSA/index.cfm. For more Arbor Day resources, visit www.ci.davidson.nc.us and click on the “Arbor Day 2011” link.