PHOTO: Members of the Brentwood Blaze football team receive an Environmental Stewardship Award at the 2018 Arbor Day celebration at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library on Saturday, March 17. / Photo by Landon Woodroof
By LANDON WOODROOF
It was a green Saturday both literally and figuratively at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library this weekend.
The city’s annual Arbor Day event coincided with St. Patrick’s Day this year, which led to a host of people wearing emerald hues while learning about and celebrating nature.
As in years past, special informational booths were set up in the library to teach and entertain, seedlings were doled out, food was provided and awards were handed out for both artistic and environmental merit.
The event is put on each year by Brentwood’s Tree Board.
This year also marked the 29th year that Brentwood was recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.
Brian Rucker, with the urban forestry council, formally announced the honor at the Arbor Day ceremony, which was held this year in the stain-glassed Children’s Storytime Room at the library.
Rucker said he travels around a lot this time of year attending various cities’ Arbor Day events. He said that Brentwood’s is special.
“I would say hands down this community shows up more than any community I’ve been involved in,” he said.
Rucker ran through the requirements a city must meet in order to be considered a Tree City USA.
“That’s having a Tree Board,” he said. “That’s having an ordinance that governs trees on public land. That’s also spending $2 per capita on a tree program, and then having what we’re doing now, celebrating Arbor Day.”
For the first time, Rucker also singled out a longtime participant in the event for special recognition. Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation was awarded the designation of Tree Line USA utility company. Middle Tennessee Electric sends workers each year to prepare and hand out free hot dogs to guests.
Mayor Jill Burgin said a few words after Brentwood’s Tree City USA flag was unfurled.
“Preservation is intentional,” she said. “It doesn’t happen by accident and a big part of that is having folks like you who are dedicated to that cause.”
She especially thanked parents for getting their kids interested in the environment and involved with Arbor Day.
“It’s really what makes communities great,” she said. “It’s the definition of citizenship.”
Burgin was honored by the Tree Board this year by having a tree planted in her honor in Liberty Garden in Crockett Park.
Here are the winners of the annual Arbor Day photography, poster and writing contests, courtesy of the City of Brentwood:
First: Raj Gupta
Second: SID and Pat Shiao
Third: Isabelle Moser, Brentwood Academy
Third Grade Poster Contest Winners
First: Ross Hendrix, Edmondson Elementary School
Second: Saanvi Khosla, Kenrose Elementary School
Third: Brendan Steele, Kenrose Elementary School
Sixth Grade Poster Contest Winners
First: Nila Kondee, Brentwood Middle School
Second: Evan Bruegel, Woodland Middle School
Third: Caroline Underwood, Sunset Middle School
Writing Contest Winners
First: Grace Sullivan, Ravenwood High School
Second: Maria Sekyi, Ravenwood High School
Third: Gracie Gore, Brentwood High School
Here, too, are the winners of the Environmental Advisory Board’s annual Environmental Stewardship Awards. Andrew Lynn, the chair of the board, announced the winners at the Arbor Day Ceremony:
Sunset Elementary Green Team: This group of environmentally aware students bought a rolling, recyclable cart for school. In order to raise the money for the cart, they collected 14,000 juice pouches, 5,000 fruit pouches and 3,500 potato chip bags. These items have to go to special facilities to be recycled. The students sent them to a suitable facility and used the credit they collected to purchase the cart.
Brentwood Blaze: The youth football team got five containers to put out on game days to collect recyclable materials.
Harpeth Conservancy: Lynn said that the conservancy partnered with the YMCA and Brentwood’s Parks & Recreation Department to build a rain garden to collect water before it flows into the Little Harpeth River. The group has also planted trees and worked to restore stream beds in River Park.
Brentwood Middle School Green Team: This student-led environmental group implemented biweekly paper and cardboard recycling events. The students are evaluating adding plastic recycling to their efforts.
Sunset Middle School Science Club: This club held the first-ever school cleanup event at Sunset Middle, where students collected trash from all over campus. The club also has a recycling program for sports events.
Here are some photos from the event: